Tracy Press, Tuesday, October 7, 2003
by Kerana Todorov
PLANS ROLLING FOR MOUNTAIN HOUSE PUBLIC TRANSIT
 
It may be a few years before the first regular public bus wheels into Mountain House. But Mountain House is negotiating with the San Joaquin Transit District, the agency that runs county buses, said Gabriel Karam, development manager for Mountain House Community Services District. Plans call for the establishment of a bus service once the 1,000th housing unit is built. That could take up to five years, Karam said. Where the bus would go, how often, and what fares would cost have yet to be established, Mountain House officials said.

Mountain House, which welcomed its first families this summer, so far includes about 50 house-holds, Karam said. About 380 building permits have been issued. Preliminary cost estimates for the new route range from $127,000 to $246,000 per year, depending on the types of service Mountain House wants, said Kari Wilson, a spokeswoman for SJRTD. If an agreement is reached with Mountain House, the community will have a say on the bus schedules, Wilson said. The number of people who commute to the Tri-Valley area could be a determining factor in where the buses would go, according to the plans.

The 45,000 residents who will eventually live in Mountain House will also be able to rely on tan internal bus route similar to Tracy's to get around the neighborhoods within the 4,667-acre new town. The Mountain House Community Services District would run that system, Karam said. Developers would pay to have the bus stops built, but the Mountain House Community Services

District would maintain the facilities and the system, Karam explained. Dial-A-Ride services are already available to Mountain House residents who make an appointment. Services are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Plans show that a dozen bus stops within the town, as well as a transit station, could be built in the new town's center.

Other modes of transportation planned for the future include using rail and bicycles. Future residents could one day travel by train along the Mococo line to the East Bay, according to the plans. Trimark Communities is expected to set aside land for a future train station, planners say.

Mountain House residents should also be able to travel from one end of the development to the other along bike trails. They could even ride to work at some of the offices that may be built at Mountain House. Close to 20,000 people could eventually work at Mountain House when the town is completely built two decades from now, according to plans. Laurie Neto, a loan officer who moved with her family from San Ramon to Mountain House last month, said she would love to use public transportation to her work near San Ramon, where she also sends her 21-month-old son to day care. But it would have to be convenient, she said.

"I'm all for public transportation," she said.
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