Travellers who need Greyhound busses to get to and from Sonora should note an upcoming change in the departure times.
For the past year or so, the morning departure time has been 6:45am, which is early enough to catch a connecting bus in Modesto.
But as of June 28th, the morning busses will leave at 8am.
The change is designed to increase ridership, and also accommodate a partnership with the Sierra Conservation Center.
Carlos Ramirez from Greyhound says that request came from officials at the prison. “Somebody at their level said ´hey, how can we bring down our costs, make ourselves a little bit more operationally tight?´ And that´s when they approached Greyhound and said, “Hey, there´s a resource here, perhaps we can use that.´”
Ramirez added transporting former inmates who have completed their sentences is a plan that has worked in other places.
“It works in Sacramento, where we service presently Folsom State Prison. It works in Vacaville, where we service the two institutions in Vacaville. And… my agent in Madera takes care of the three female institutions in Chowchilla, successfully. We´ve never had a problem.”
Ramirez says the 7:05 nightly departure… and other services like Greyhound´s Package Express… will stay the same.
Hope Hill, from the Ad Hoc Transportation Committee, is optimistic about the changes. “We´re hoping we can keep Greyhound here, because when they pulled out twelve years ago, there was no way to get in and out of the county. And I keep saying, ´Use it or lose it,´ so this is it.”
Hill also says a new media campaign will create additional ridership.
“This time, Carlos is planning on advertising, which hadn´t been done before, and I think this will make a difference.”
The changes were announced Thursday at a meeting of the Ad Hoc Transportation Committee at the Sonora Inn.