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SolTrans Merges Transit Services in Southern Solano County

Buses in southern Solano County will soon sport a colorful new logo

The new Vallejo Transit Center (Photo: Nathan Salant)

August 1, 2011
Say hello to SolTrans, the Bay Area’s newest public transit agency. Short for Solano County Transit, SolTrans began operations on July 1. The new agency merges the bus services of the former Vallejo Transit and Benicia Breeze transit agencies.

“Uniting the Vallejo and Benicia bus operations under one organizational umbrella will help us maintain current service levels and promote greater funding stability,” said Jim Spering, MTC Commissioner and Solano County Supervisor, and an architect of the November 2010 merger of the two agencies. “We’re trying to build a more unified transit system in southern Solano County.”

According to SolTrans’ Interim Executive Director Jim McElroy, the consolidation will save over $1 million in the first year alone. “That does not mean there will not need to be a thorough review of all services,” McElroy noted. “But, it does help keep more service in a time of declining resources.” In the near future, the agency’s board plans to discuss larger funding issues, define a vision for the organization and discuss possible service changes with the public.

Transit riders will not see any immediate changes from the consolidation, but will soon benefit from a new fleet of hybrid-electric buses. The buses, purchased with federal grant moneys and funds from several state sources, will generate fewer emissions and save fuel costs.

“The SolTrans merger represents the kind of coordinated planning and service delivery envisioned by MTC’s Transit Sustainability Project,” noted MTC’s Spering. “Our transit sustainability effort aims for a more robust, financially viable Bay Area transit system that is both cost-effective and customer-focused.”

SolTrans is housed in the newly built Vallejo Transit Center, one piece of a larger development that includes both commercial and residential components in downtown Vallejo. MTC contributed $17 million in Regional Measure 2 funds toward the new transit center, which will not only provide better connection to Vallejo Baylink ferry services, but also, officials hope, spark much-needed economic revitalization of the area.

For more information on SolTrans, visit its website (currently being hosted by the Solano Transportation Authority) at: http://www.sta.ca.gov/Content/10038/SolTrans.html