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Local ROTA Control Coveted By Council
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Riverbank City Council members are far from ready to give up the public bus transportation system the city shares with Oakdale.

Councilmember Richard O'Brien at the April 23 meeting asked for direction as the council's representative to the Stanislaus Council of Governments committee that is discussing the future of transit in this county.

There are three scenarios under discussion: maintaining the status quo; combining all the services under one agency; and consolidating services based on whether the area served is large urbanized, small urbanized, or rural and non-urbanized, City Manager Jill Anderson told the council.

The Riverbank Oakdale Transit Authority provides dial a ride transit service to the two communities, she said. But ROTA continues to face fiscal challenges due to a decrease in federal funding, decreased ridership and insufficient land use density to support transit.

Currently, the ROTA board also is considering alternative service scenarios, including the possibility of consolidating services probably with Stanislaus County rural transit system, she added.

Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueno said consolidation is the new trend as evident among fire districts, for example. But ROTA's fare box ratio recently has climbed almost to the 10 percent of expenditures that the federal government requires to continue its funding. She is hopeful that ROTA can still function on its own, the two cities will retain local control and continue to offer the personalized service that area clients have grown to expect.