Barstow Council Okays Trial Merger Of Its Bus Line With Victor Valley Transit Authority

(May 22) The Barstow City Council on May 19 approved a temporary one-year operational merger between Barstow Area Transit and the Victor Valley Transit Authority.
Currently, Barstow has a contract with MV Transit, a private company, to operate and manage Barstow Area Transit. That contract expired on December 31 and the city has extended the arrangement with MV Transit while it has looked at alternative arrangements.
Last year, San Bernardino Associated Governments, the county’s transportation agency which represents all 24 of the county’s incorporated cities and the county itself, commissioned a study examining merging transit operations with other regional transit agencies. That study concluded there could be “significant operational enhancements and administrative cost savings” if Barstow merged its transit authority with the Victor Valley Transit Authority, known as VVTA.
Caltrans, as well, has encouraged Barstow to get into a more permanent arrangement with regard to its public transit system.
An analysis shows that Barstow can expect to see substantial savings annually from merging with VVTA. According to that analysis, operational savings would total $103,003 per year, while the city could further see a savings of $263,378 on administration.
While Barstow transit contracts with MV Transit to operate its system, VVTA contracts with Veolia Transportation. Drivers currently working the Barstow route for MV would be extended an offer to take on the same routes for Veolia.
Some details with regard to the merger yet have to be finalized. Officials said they would likely be in place by July 1. Actuation of the merger would come after that date.
The five-member city council voted unanimously to approve the one year arrangement with VVTA, which was represented as a “trial run.” Depending on the success of the trial merger, a consolidation of the two transit agencies could be instituted as early as next year.

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