Foothill Transit Eying Operation of Area Cities’ Shuttle Programs

Photo by George Lumbreras/Wikimedia Commons.

Foothill Transit is exploring a concept program in which the agency would operate a connecting transit service in cities that run their own buses.

This concept called Community Connector, is described as a joint program between Foothill Transit and a member city, where the transit agency would own, operate and maintain the vehicles. In return, Foothill Transit would take a portion of the return funding and give that member city access to Foothill Transit Resources.

The concept was discussed at the February 5 Foothill Transit Executive Board Strategic Planning Workshop.

Foothill Transit had entertained the idea of a Community Connector program for years, but recent conversations began with the advent of the agency’s electric bus system, said Kevin McDonald, deputy executive director at Foothill Transit.

“A lot of our member cities are interested in bringing clean transportation to their cities,” McDonald said.

Foothill Transit has a goal of becoming fully electric by 2030.

Duarte, which has been running its own shuttle service since 1984, has had preliminary discussions with Foothill Transit at the beginning of the year with the idea of one day operating the city’s transit service.

What does this mean for Glendora?

“Our system is just too small for [Foothill Transit] and they are structured for the typical fixed route operation which they do in the region,” said Glendora city manager Chris Jeffers.

“We have a Dial-a-Ride that will take individuals to set locations like doctor appointments; grocery shopping; etc. The Metrolink is a point to point shuttle. The Teen Shuttle is an after school shuttle that we pick kids up at schools and take them to either the Teen Center or Library. Our systems our different,” Jeffers said.

The Community Connector concept is being developed with cities in mind that have more robust shuttle systems, McDonald said. Pasadena, El Monte, Baldwin Park and West Covina operate their own transit service and could be serviced by Foothill Transit’s electric fleet.

Foothill Transit runs Line 291 from LaVerne to Pomona on an all-electric fleet out of their Pomona yard and hopes to add an electric facility to the Arcadia yard in the near future, McDonald said.

The partnership with Duarte would serve as a test case for how Community Connector would work beyond with other member cities, said Doran Barnes, Executive Director.

“Community Connector] could give us more exposure in those cities and would help to coordinate services together in terms of transfers from local circulators into our more regional service,” McDonald said.