Merger Of Victor Valley & Barstow Transit Agencies

(May 12)  Barstow city officials have confirmed the county transportations agency’s previous projection that the city would derive an estimated savings of several hundred thousand dollars by merging Barstow Area Transit with the Victor Valley Transit Authority.
The county transportation agency, San Bernardino Associated Governments, last year undertook a study which found that there would be a financial advantage and potential service enhancements from merging the Barstow Area Transit with VVTA.
In response to the effort to convince local officials to consent to such a service consolidation, the city of Barstow, which has contracted with MV Transit, Inc. to service the greater Barstow area as a municipal transit agency, undertook its own inquiry.
Accordingly, assistant city manager Oliver Chi told the city council, Barstow might achieve an annual savings of $403,663 were the Victor Valley Transit Authority to expand its service area to Barstow, the seventh smallest of San Bernardino County’s 24 cities in terms of population.
The lion’s share of the savings would be had by streamlining the administrative function such that the current $467,176 cost of administrating the service would be reduced to around $207,369, a projected savings of $259,807 a year. In addition, Barstow would see an operational savings of another $143,826, bringing the total estimated savings of $403,663 per year. The county has projected that it would also stand to save about $60,000 a year in administrative costs if the two transit services merged.
The Victor Valley Transit Authority at present provides a link between its routes and the southernmost Barstow Transit stop.
MV Transit’s contract with the city expires at year’s end.
Chi indicated that within the next several weeks, an item related to the merging of Barstow Area Transit with the Victor Valley Transit Authority will be placed before the city council.
Indications were that both Caltrans and San Bernardino Associated Governments, which is known by its acronym SANBAG, would be amenable to facilitating that transition. The contract with MV came to a close eleven months ago and the city has given MV two temporary extensions on the terms of the prior contract, currently running  through December 31.
Caltrans has recommended against continuing the contract with MV beyond the currently extended term.
County and city officials are anxious to initiate a trial merger with Victor Valley Transit Authority, perhaps as early as January 1 to determine if the service enhancements that arrangement promises could actually be delivered at the cost savings projected.
Under the terms of the contemplated merger Barstow would join as the seventh member of the transit authority, which currently includes Adelanto, Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley, San Bernardino County District 2 and San Bernardino County District 3.

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