On Oct. 1, 1979, the Colusa County Transit Agency was formed to be the sole public transit provider for Colusa County. At that time, the transit agency was managed under the Public Works Department, which began providing transportation utilizing a nine-passenger mini-bus and a station wagon. The agency had a staff of two drivers.
Today, the Transit Agency serves Colusa County with six buses and a staff of 10, which consists of three office personnel, six full-time drivers, and one full-time mechanic.
“[The Colusa County Transit] started 40 years ago with the idea to help transit dependent citizens, the handicapped, and the poor,” said Transit Manager, Thomas Simms, on the Pioneer Review’s podcast “The BACKPAGE,” which aired on Friday, Sept. 20. “We even provide a trip to Yuba City on Fridays.”
Operations include a demand response service with fixed-time routes. Buses depart Colusa at a set time and travel between Colusa, Williams, Arbuckle, Princeton, Maxwell, Stonyford, Sites, Grimes, and Meridian.
“We’ve hit some records on the number of passengers we’re carrying over the past couple of years,” said Simms. “And for the past three or four years, we have been offering free rides through a grant that is offered by the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program.”
In 2019, the Colusa County Transit Agency received a record amount of $42,000.
“When the grant program first started, the smaller agencies would get very little funding,” said Kent Boes, former Transit Manager. “We could do very little with what was given.”
Simms added that the key point of the grant is to lower carbon emissions or greenhouse emissions.
“The way the previous transit manager set-up the program is to offer free rides,” said Simms.
“If we could get more people on the bus, that pulls more cars off the roads, which lowers the carbon emissions,” Boes said. “It was a great way to use what little money the Transit Agency was given.”
“We’ve seen great success with the program,” Simms added. “We now offer free fares the last week of the month.”
“I like that the changes were made from a free day to a week, with the help of the additional funding,” said Boes. “Historically, we would see the ridership decline at the end of the month because people are waiting for their checks to come in. It helps the senior riders the whole month.”
In October, Sims said that for its 40th anniversary, the Colusa County Transit would offer the entire month of October fare free, allowing riders to go anywhere within the transit route.
The transit is a great option for those looking for public transportation for regular trips to local super markets, doctor appointments, or even to a friend’s home. Simms said that the transit provides a large amount of its services to the elderly, and handicapped.
“We provide medical transport for doctor appointments to locations outside of Colusa, up to an hour away,” said Simms. “We’ve taken riders to Chico, Sacramento, Davis.”
Simms noted that there are a number of grant programs that help cover the costs of transportation through the Transit, but that rides are limited. Those interested in the service need to call the transit for more information.
“We provide transportation to the Veteran’s Hall, daily, for the senior lunch program,” said Simms. “And we provide transportation for the Meals on Wheels program.”
In addition to its public duties, the transit also provides private services to county residents.
“We provides charter services for private events such as weddings, reunions, and more,” said Simms.
For additional information about charter services, contact the Colusa County Transit.
The Colusa County Transit also plans to provide free fare day during the Presidential Primary Election, on March 3, 2020, to county-wide polling places.
“As long as the grant holds and offered, we plan to provide a free fare day in November,” Simms added.
As the Colusa County Transit ramps up a month-long celebration with free fares, there will be surprise giveaways on randomly selected routes.
Need a ride? Call the Colusa County Transit at (530) 458-0287. ■