Visalia officials hope to launch shuttle bus service from Visalia to Fresno this fall.
The city has applied for a $583,053 grant from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, arguing in its application that a shuttle would spare the air.
If approved, the grant would buy three buses and subsidize fares until ridership grows.
Visalia is competing against other entities for grant money, but “I feel very good about the application,” said Visalia Transit Manager Monty Cox.
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The air district is expected to decide next month.
A Visalia-to-Fresno shuttle has been discussed on and off for years, but a recent scare — the potential loss of airline service at the Visalia Municipal Airport — prompted city officials to work toward a shuttle to the Fresno airport and other stops.
“We get requests for it all the time,” Cox said.
Current transportation options include Greyhound and at least one limousine company.
Greyhound has bus service five times a day from Visalia to downtown Fresno for about $20 one way, and Classic Charter offers door-to-door car service to the Fresno airport for $119 for three passengers.
Cox said the city’s proposed shuttle would be supplemental to what Greyhound and Classic Charter offer.
Under the city’s proposal, one-way tickets would be discounted to $10 for three years to draw passengers.
If there are three passengers per bus, one-way tickets of $20 would cover costs, Cox said. If the shuttle draws six passengers per bus, on average one-way tickets would be $10 and cover costs.
Students, seniors and the disabled could get monthly passes at a discount, he said.
Last week, the Visalia City Council gave a unanimous thumbs-up to seeking the grant.
“We think there’s a great untapped market,” Mayor Steve Nelsen said.
Potential shuttle riders are patients going to Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center or the Veterans Administration hospital, travelers bound for the Fresno airport and students attending Fresno State, he said.
Fresno State, Fresno Yosemite International Airport and other governmental entities wrote letters in support of the city’s application.
The proposed shuttle initially would be weekdays only, departing the Visalia Transit Center at 6 and 9 a.m., and 1 and 4 p.m.
The 16-passenger shuttle would stop at the Visalia and Fresno airports, Fresno State, Manchester Center and Courthouse Park for access to Fresno Area Express routes.
From downtown Visalia to the Fresno airport would take an estimated 55 minutes, and to Fresno State an additional 11 minutes.
The return trip to Visalia would stop at the Visalia airport and end at the Visalia Transit Center.
BROADMAN: Former Tulare County Judge Howard Broadman donated a kidney to a stranger over the holidays.
He did it to help his 4-year-old grandson, who was born with a single, problem kidney and someday may need a donated kidney. By donating his own kidney now, Broadman said, it allows his grandson to spend less time on a waiting list if and when that becomes necessary.
Broadman, 64, said he acted because age 65 is the cutoff for kidney donations. The removal surgery occurred Dec. 23 at the University of California at Los Angeles hospital.
“It’s like being hit by a truck,” he said. He’s recovering at home in Visalia.
CHIEF INVESTIGATOR: Lindy Gligorijevic has been promoted to chief investigator of the Tulare County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations. She’s the first woman to take the job in Tulare County, the DA said.
She started as an officer at the Los Angeles Police Department, working patrol in the Hollywood, Rampart and 77th Street divisions, rising to a detective supervisor investigating homicides, sex crimes and robberies.
Gligorijevic even taught homicide crime scene investigations for 10 years at the Robert Presley Institute of Criminal Investigations.
She been at the D.A.’s office for seven years and will be in charge of 46 investigators.