By Staff Reports
(Hesperia) – At its April meeting, the Victor Valley Transit Authority Board of Directors approved its merger with Barstow Area Transit. The July VVTA Board meeting welcomed two new Board members: San Bernardino County Third District Supervisor James Ramos and City of Barstow Councilmember Richard Harpole.
The merger proved beneficial for both agencies. BAT revealed a significant operational cost savings. Both agencies demonstrated favorable administrative cost savings following the merger.
“VVTA brings the expertise and experience of a highly-efficient transit agency to the area,” said Ramos.
The year leading up to the merger, VVTA operated BAT through an intergovernmental agreement. During that period, VVTA performed upgrades to the maintenance facility, improved amenities at bus stops, and upgraded fare boxes to the latest electronic currency validating hardware.
“We have seen significant improvements to the transit system operations and bus stop amenities, including trash cans, additional bus stop signs, and reflectors to alert drivers of waiting passengers during the evening hours,” said Harpole.
A recent satisfaction survey confirmed that Barstow bus riders have overwhelmingly noticed improvements transit services in their area.
For the immediate future, both VVTA and BAT will maintain their own branding. Sometime in the next year or two the combined agency will seek to rebrand itself.
With the additional responsibility of volunteer driver programs in Trona and Big River, VVTA’s service area grows from 425 square miles to almost 1,000 square miles.
VVTA’s operational area now spans from the Los Angeles County, Kern County, and Inyo County lines on the west and north to the Colorado River on the east. Communities now include Barstow, Baker, Big River, Daggett, Hinkley, Fort Irwin, Lenwood, Ludlow, Mountain Pass, Newberry Springs, Trona, Big River, and Yermo. The VVTA Route 15 B-V Link connects Barstow to the Victor Valley and provides service to the Inland Empire, including San Bernardino and Fontana Metrolink.