Why were recommendations that were made in a transit study, paid for by Riverside County taxpayers, never adopted for the Pass Area?
The Inland Empire's Pass Area which includes Calimesa, Beaumont, Banning and Cabazon,
will have its transit system analyzed, courtesy of the City of
Beaumont. This is welcoming news for Calimesa as this small town between
Yucaipa and Beaumont currently lacks through-bus service; its residents
are urged to take an active
part in the study. However, the fact that Beaumont taxpayers are footing
the bill for the study remains questionable. In addition, the fact
remains that recommendations from a 2007 transit study to establish a
productive bus route for the corridor were never adopted.
The transit corridor linking Beaumont through Calimesa into Yucaipa has a
history of major route changes. The Riverside Transit Agency once
Route 36 which previously served the City of Calimesa and directly
connected the region with Yucaipa to the north and Beaumont to the
south. RTA is mandated by the Riverside County Transportation Commission
to meet productive performance
standards for its bus lines. Route 36 did not meet several of them and
was proposed to be canceled in the summer of 2009.
As mentioned, the corridor was studied back in 2007, paid for by Riverside County taxpayers.
RTA's 2007 Comprehensive Operational Analysis recommended that the
transit corridor connecting the Pass Area into San Bernardino be
Omnitrans-operated and connect directly with major points in San
Bernardino. However, no transit agency in the area adopted the
recommendation. Instead, the City of Beaumont agreed to launch the
Pass Transit Express Route on June 22, 2009, connecting central
Beaumont to central Calimesa to replace Route 36. Unfortunately, a
multitude of problems became clear as one looked at the Express Route
bus schedule and map. One
fundamental flaw was its limited coverage. Following another
restructure, the express route now serves as a peak-only
CommuterLink Route 120 with direct service to the San Bernardino
Metrolink Station. However, RSVP's are required and the last morning bus
out of Beaumont is 5:00 am.
Under the recommendations made by the 2007 RTA COA transit study, The
Transit Coalition envisions an all-day regional bus connector for the
Beaumont-Calimesa-San Bernardino corridor with hourly headways paid for
by Pass-area cities and San Bernardino County which would be operated by
Omnitrans. The line would be an extension of the existing Omnitrans
Route 9 which would directly connect Beaumont, Calimesa, and Yucaipa to
major points in Loma Linda and San Bernardino, terminating at the
downtown transit station. An up-to-date study will further assist The
Transit Coalition in restoring productive public transit for Calimesa.
Let's hope officials adopt its recommendations this time around.