By Nissi Guiao
Downtown Stockton is full of life, housing an abundance of treasure all around and within the walls of the unique businesses who’ve made these blocks their home. There is plenty to do—new things to see, good eats to share, a variety of places to shop, etc. And even though parking has been a top deterrence in times past, there are now so many options to get around.
EASY-TO-USE PARKING MACHINES
The first is simple. Like Nike, #justdoit! Nowadays, there are electronic parking machines pretty much around every corner. Plus, they are very easy to use. Simply punch in your license plate, select your desired amount of time, then pay with card or coin (literally easy as 1-2-3). Just be sure to pay attention to posted signage in your location, as maximum time limits do vary pending the area you are in.
If you don’t fancy parking and don’t want to have to think about it, RTD is one of the next best options to make your way downtown. Lori Mumphrey, one of RTD’s very own passionate transit ambassadors at the Downtown Transit Center, knows all of the ins and outs. If you’re excited to jump in and take a bus downtown, here’s the 411 from her.
“Our biggest route that we have most people on is our Express 40. And that leaves from here (downtown) to all the way up Pacific to our Hammer Triangle… ‘cause it passes several of our colleges in that area, to the mall. And those buses are actually the ‘big buses,’ the double buses as I call [them]. . .those are always filled. Also our 520 – that has a lot of people on there -runs up and down California Street to the mall as well. Our 510 runs from here all the way down San Joaquin up toward the San Joaquin Hospital and that area. . .the 47 runs from downtown to the DMV. A lot of our buses do run hourly except for our Express buses—they run every 15-20 minutes.”
So if you’re near the Hammer Triangle or if you’re hanging out near the malls, the popular Express 40 (Pacific Corridor) will take you to the Downtown Transit Center, where you’ll be within walking distance to all the places you’ll want to check out or re-visit. If you’re not quite near the route the Express 40 hits, take advantage of the helpful “Trip Planner” (powered by Google) on the homepage or sidebar of their website (sanjoaquinrtd.com) to figure out the most efficient way to get from your specific location to your desired location with ease.
RTD GO! + RTD VAN GO!
If, however, you prefer something even simpler than that, RTD now offers RTD Go! and RTD Van Go! Far greater than transportation via bus, our county’s trusted transit system has implemented other services that ensure even more comfort and convenience for the communities it serves.
RTD Go! “offers an on-demand service with Uber and JVG that subsidizes qualifying trips, provides more mobility options with extended service hours and allows passengers to save up to 50% (up to $5.00 per ride) using the Uber app.”
RTD Van Go! “provides an on-demand rideshare service throughout the county, expands service to rural areas where transportation options may be limited, offers an accessible, safe vehicle that can transport passengers with wheelchairs and features drivers that are professionally trained, licensed, and prepared to help.”
With pure excitement, Mumphrey shares her personal experience: “I really love the new service which is the Van Go! I love that service—I use it myself, personally. The Van Go!, it runs just like Lyft and Uber (but we’re cheaper… I love it). . .Cute, little bus. Cute—just cute! Over the weekend, I used it for my family, and we left from my house and went down here to this ice cream parlor. We loved it! Nobody had to drive…”
Unlike regular bus services, RTD Van Go! runs “7 days a week, even on holidays (Monday-Friday from 6:00am-6:00pm/Saturday & Sunday from 6:00am-10:00pm)” says Mumphrey. “For a $4 one-way ride, you and 3…other people can go on that one ride. Our all-day pass is $10 (that’s for our regular), [where] you and 3…other people [can ride] as well. Then we have our discount for our seniors and disabled. One ride is $3—the all-day for them is $7. But what makes it so nice is you can share it with other people. You know, if everybody comes to your home and nobody feels like driving but you want to go to the winery in Lodi, they have transfer points.”
If you haven’t spotted the colorful buses around town yet, Emily Oestreicher (Marketing Senior Specialist for SJ RTD) says “You’ll recognize them now that we’re talking about it. A lot of them actually look like Van Gogh paintings. . .” Plus, “a lot of people have been using that service because. . .[just like Lyft and Uber] we have an app. . .and for things happening downtown like at the Bob Hope (stuff like that)…you don’t want to worry about parking. . .it’s an excellent service.”
With these new additions to RTD, there is no reason to withhold yourself from enjoying everything downtown has to offer.
Visit sanjoaquinrtd.com for more details on trips, senior and veteran discounts and other services. If you need help at one of the transit locations, feel free to ask any of the friendly and knowledgeable RTD transit ambassadors, and they will happily assist you.
“Smart travel, your way” is their motto. Dibs is a fresh travel resource in our community that everyone should know about, especially those who are sustainability-minded.
“Dibs does more than just give you directions. [They] offer transportation options, incentives, tips and even emergency rides home. [They] also bring car and vanpool participants together. You want easy options designed to fit your needs. By foot, bike, car, bus, train, carpool or vanpool, [they’re] your portal to smart travel to save you money, reduce road congestion and improve air quality.”
Making and keeping our environments healthier—cleaner—just like anything else, takes one step at a time. And quite literally, with one of the options Dibs suggests, you can start taking steps right away by walking to work, if that’s a plausible option for you.
Everyone has a part to play – you just have to start somewhere. “Call Dibs on how you get around today at 1-800-52-SHARE.”
Perhaps you’re feeling adventurous and want to take a trip to the Bay Area. If that’s the case, take ACE (located on 949 E. Channel St.)! Many ride the ACE train for their normal commute to work, but it is also a great way to take a trip out of town. ACE will take you directly to Santa Clara or San Jose—there is even an option to go straight to Great America for a fun day in the sun!
If you’re planning a trip to SF and don’t want to deal with the headache of parking costs or the drive, ACE will take you to its Pleasanton location where you can easily transfer to BART and go directly into the heart of the city. ACE is an excellent gateway to the Bay, and the best part is, you can access it right from downtown!
Visit http://www.acerail.com/Getting-You-There/Transfers-Shuttles to buy your tickets and/or get more information.
As things continue to bloom and blossom, you don’t want to miss being part of it. Grab a friend (or invite a group) and take advantage of any or all of these ways to get around downtown—add to the life and excitement that’s found on every block…