Paso Robles cuts daytime shuttle service

The Paso Robles City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to cut an underperforming city shuttle route tailored to low-income and senior housing riders.

The Paso Express Mid-Day Shuttle, using two buses in the regular Paso Express fleet, stops close to jobs, shops, medical services and recreation.It largely overlaps with Paso Express Routes A and B but brings riders closer to store entrances instead of letting off at the bus stops.

The fares are the same regardless, with options ranging from regular to discounted rates.

The Mid-Day Shuttle has been operating since 2009 on a grant that the state won't renew because of its low ridership. The shuttle was meant to cater to 25,000 riders in fiscal year 2010-11, but only saw 15,000 riders.

It's now set to cease operations April 30 to save the city an estimated $15,000 the state wouldn't have covered.

One person Tuesday echoed concerns of residents who spoke in February advocating to keep the shuttle. They said they depend on it to get to daily errands and appointments. But Councilman Fred Strong said the city must make the cut to save money and improve the city's transit offerings.

The two Mid-Day Shuttle vehicles would be better used on the fixed routes, officials said. A new Route C is also in the works.

Federal grant money that supplemented the shuttle's state funding can also be redirected into the new stops on the city's regular bus routes, according to an application the city filed.

The new route information will be available in May and posted on buses and at the downtown transit center.

-Tonya Strickland