Improved Transportation Services for North Shore Residents Nears Final Approval
NORTH SHORE – By September, residents of North Shore will likely have a new public transportation link to Mecca, Thermal, Coachella and Indio, and the ability to connect to other Coachella Valley locations by bus, as a result of a federal grant set for Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) approval April 10.
The full RCTC board will consider the recommended award of federal Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) grant funds to SunLine Transit Agency to expand SunLine’s bus service to North Shore.
“Having heard the concerns of North Shore residents, we are pleased to have found this funding source to potentially provide a critical transportation link for North Shore residents,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit. “While far from full service, this is a huge step towards providing a much easier way for residents to get to medical appointments, work, school or conduct other business throughout the Coachella Valley. I very much appreciate RCTC and SunLine working with us to make this possible.”
The proposed weekday bus service will consist of five round-trips between 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Hundreds of North Shore residents, organized by La Causa Unida and the Inland Congregations United for Change, have petitioned transportation officials through community meetings and surveys demonstrating interest in a route extending to North Shore. The Salton Sea community of North Shore is 10 miles from the closest established bus route in Mecca.
“After spending a significant amount of time meeting with the North Shore community members to understand their needs and develop the project proposal, SunLine is optimistic that the projected funding will move through the final approval stage and we can fulfill their transportation needs,” said C. Mikel Oglesby, general manager of SunLine Transit Agency. “We look forward to RCTC Board approval in early April, with service planned to commence in September 2013.”
Supervisor Benoit represents the county’s unincorporated communities on both the SunLine Transit Agency and RCTC boards.
SunLine’s request was approved Monday by RCTC’s Budget and Implementation committee, allowing the proposal to move forward to a vote by the full board April 10. With approval, the service would be funded over two years with $217,000 from the JARC grant matched by local transit funding, plus passenger fares.