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Bus route to Bay Area Sikh temple ending

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    UNION CITY — No riders, no bus route.

    After a failed one-year pilot program that transported some passengers to the Sikh temple in Fremont, the City Council has decided to terminate the Union City Transit service in August.

    The vote was 4-0, with Councilwoman Carol Dutra-Vernaci absent.

    Since last April, the transit system has bused passengers to the temple, known as Gurdwara Sahib Fremont, at 300 Gurdwara Rd., every Sunday.

    The route, which was an extension of Route 1A, averaged only about 36 passengers on Sundays, meeting only half of its projected goal of 70 passengers.

    The highest ridership for the route was 63 last April 15, Transit Manager Wilson Lee said.

    Every hour, three to four bus riders on average travel to the temple — the lowest ridership when compared with other Sunday routes.

    According to statistics in the last two months, Route 3 averaged about 7 passengers, Route 4 about 9, Route 1A about 15, and Route 2 about 10 passengers.

    Routes 3 and 4 will be terminated in August.

    Several opponents from the Sikh temple tried to persuade the council to continue the service.

    A couple of speakers said they were working with the community to promote riding the bus, but "some are scared" to do so because of a language barrier.

    Many temple members said the service is a necessity for some and that the city should not cut the route — especially with gas prices rising.

    However, Mayor Mark Green quickly shot down the bus supporters.

    "Two of the routes that areahead of you in ridership per hour right now are being cut, which again puts me in a interesting spot," Green replied. "Why are we keeping this route when we have more productive routes that are being cut?"

    Bus riders on the west side of town still can board AC Transit bus 97 and the city's Route 1A and transfer to Route 99 at the Union City BART station, where the bus travels to the temple or nearby streets seven days a week.

    Last November, council members made a similar decision when they eliminated routes 3 and 4 on Sundays because of low ridership.

    However, they voted to reinstate Route 1B, which will travel along Alvarado-Niles Road to the Meteor Drive/Delores Drive area on the west side of the city.

    By Jamaal Johnson, STAFF WRITER
    Staff writer Jamaal Johnson covers Union City.
    He can be reached at 510-353-7003 or [email protected].

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