Retired Judge Conrad L. Cox of Ukiah learned a lot during his years on the bench in Mendocino County Superior Court. Presiding from 1988 to 2002 over murder, mayhem, environmental issues, broadband internet and the welcoming of naturalized citizens to the United States, the Stanford University graduate stayed involved and kept learning after retirement.
It was a small thing, but just last month he learned that Mendocino Transit Authority’s Dial-A-Ride bus in Ukiah expanded the area it serves to include Rogina Heights, Deerwood and other neighborhoods east and north of Ukiah. It now offers an on-time reservation service and is outfitted with a lift for wheelchairs, which Cox now uses. All of these things suited him.
“They didn’t cover that area before,” said Cox. He decided to try it for trips to town, and now makes an appointment for Dial-A-Ride in tandem with appointments to see his dentist and doctor.
“They’re on time, that’s the nice thing,” he said. “Good drivers, good equipment: It works.”
Angelica Buenrostro and her four-month-old daughter Emiliana also use the revamped Dial-A-Ride service, but for a different reason: The cost has nosedived. The disabled new mother lives on Lake Mendocino Drive in Ukiah, which was served by Dial-A-Ride before but at a fare of $21 one way.
“I pay $4 now,” she said. She uses Dial-A-Ride whenever she needs to dash to town for diapers and other supplies.
MTA’s Dial-A-Ride has morphed over the past 40 years from a public taxi service to today’s specially equipped small bus dedicated to the transportation needs of disabled and senior citizens in Ukiah and Fort Bragg. Until Sept. 1, 2019, Dial-A-Ride still accepted reservations from the general public, though wait times could be long and rides to zones outside city centers were limited and costly. On Sept. 1, the service switched to exclusive paratransit service and joined virtually all other such services at public transit companies in the state.
“Transitioning to a reservation service exclusive to paratransit and senior customers enables MTA to finally expand service at an affordable cost to those customers who really need and benefit most from Dial-A-Ride,” said Carla Meyer, general manager of MTA.
Features of the new service include:
- Subscriptions for those who have recurring pick-up times. Customers call MTA once to set up the subscription service and only call again if a ride needs to be cancelled.
- Guaranteed rides on the customer’s schedule, which is what Retired Judge Cox likes. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance for service within a 15-minute window on either side of the reservation time.
- Expanded service to central Redwood Valley, Rogina Heights, Deerwood, Manor Oaks, Talmage and Lake Mendocino.
- Affordable fares ranging from $3 to $6 per ride, depending upon the destination.
For more information about Dial-A-Ride fares and service, visit https://mdcinostaging.wpengine.com/dial-a-ride/
Mendocino Transit Authority provides safe, low-cost and convenient public bus service throughout Mendocino County.