Concord, Calif. – Big changes are in store for County Connection passengers effective Sunday, March 22, 2009. The loss of state funds over the past four years totaling $14 million has had a cumulative effect on County Connection’s ability to maintain existing service levels.
“In the past four years County Connection has lost approximately $7 million in State Transportation Assistance (STA) funds through the diversion of voter approved transportation funds to backfill the State budget,” said Rick Ramacier, County Connection’s General Manager. “Coupled with the loss of approximately $7 million over the same time period in state sales tax revenue due to the economic downturn, this total loss of $14 million is devastating to an agency with an annual operating budget of just $30 million.” Without making a drastic move now County Connection would be at risk of running out of cash by late 2009.
And things may only get worse over the next five years. In the recently adopted State budget STA funds are completely eliminated, which will result in a loss to County Connection of between $30 and $40 million over the next five years.
“Funds coming to County Connection from the federal stimulus package will help County Connection in the short term. However, these funds are not for operating purposes,” explained Gregg Manning, County Connection’s Board Chairman. “Making the reductions now gives us a couple of years to come up with a solution to the funding crisis that’s threatening bus service in our communities. Without a source of funds to replace the STA program, further cuts will be necessary.”
Changes Taking Place March 22, 2009
- The entire system is being realigned with new bus schedules and a new route numbering system. Weekend services will change so that both Saturday and Sunday service will operate the same.
- A new fare structure takes effect with increases to both the cash fares and the discount passes.
- Adult/Youth – $2.00
- Senior/Disabled – $1.00
- Adult – $1.00
- Senior/Disabled – $0.50
- Monthly Pass – $60
- 12-Ride Adult/Youth Pass – $20
- 20-Ride Senior/Disabled Pass – $15
- Commuter Card – $40 (20 bus fares + 20 BART transfer fares)
The free mid day service available to senior and disabled riders with an RTC Discount Card will be eliminated. Seniors and disabled passengers are still eligible to receive discounted fares on fixed-route buses.
LINK Paratransit trips will increase to $4.00 per trip.
County Connection operates a fleet of 29 ft., 35 ft., and 40 ft. fully accessible fixed-route buses, and a fleet of 63 paratransit vehicles, carrying over 5,000,000 passengers each year. Customer Service Representatives are on hand to provide information on the new bus route alignments as well as the new schedules. This information is also available on the agency’s website – www.cccta.org.