Task force discusses fixed bus route proposal

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Angela Harvey of Clovis drives a CATS bus down 5th street Thursday after picking up a passenger.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Loretta Fogerson said her day care’s summer program could be a casualty of a fixed bus route system the city’s public transportation provider is proposing.

The proposal for three fixed bus routes in Clovis would limit access to the Clovis Area Transit System’s taxi-like demand-response service to the elderly and the disabled.

Fogerson, who owns My School Day Care on Mitchell Street, said a major part of the summer program includes field trips that rely on the city demand-response service.

A member of the CATS Task Force, Fogerson expressed her concerns Thursday during the task force’s first meeting.

“I am not for it because it is going to eliminate a summer program,” Fogerson said after the meeting.

City Commissioner and Task Force Chairman Len Vohs said he expects the change over to the fixed route system will be difficult. But he said the city will have to change the service to accommodate the population growth expected from the Cannon Air Force Base transition.

“We’ve got to go this way because we’re growing,” said Vohs. “It’s a thing of the future.”

CATS director Mary Lou Kemp said fixed routes would allow the city’s public transportation provider to offer the bus service to more people with the same resources it uses presently.

Kemp said CATS drivers make about 5,000 one-way trips a month at a cost of 75 cents per trip.

“We’ve basically spoiled the ridership, they expect a lot from their 75 cents,” she said of the anticipated opposition to the change.

While CATS drivers do not transport children to school, Kemp said parents use the demand response service to deliver their children home or to after-school activities. As a result of limiting the bus service’s demand response service, parents will not be able to schedule rides for their children after school, Kemp said.

She said about half of the demand response trips consist of children.

The task force was assigned by the city commission to study the feasibility of implementing a fixed bus route system. Kemp said the 16-member task force will present its recommendations to city commissioners in December.

The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at the CATS building.