After a number of delays brought about by El Nino-influenced weather, the San Joaquin County Rail Commission's Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) train begins service on October 19. The service will provide an alternative to commuters along its route, beginning in Stockton and ending in San Jose. The train will stop in Pleasanton at a newly-constructed platform near the Alameda County Fairgrounds.
With the beginning of ACE service, WHEELS will also be initiating a shuttle to serve Pleasanton commuters using the train.
Currently, the Rail Commission is accepting applications for its Premier Pass program, a special version of their monthly passes tailored for the ten commute days the service will be available in October.
Applications for the Premier Pass and subsequent monthly passes are available by calling (800) 411-RAIL or on the ACE web site at www.acerail.com. Over 1,000 requests for applications have been received through September 14, so tickets are going fast.
Monthly pass prices vary according to distance traveled. From Stockton to Pleasanton, for instance, a monthly pass will cost $191, while the cost drops to $103 for commuters from Tracy to Pleasanton.
Two trains will be making daily round trips. The first will leave Stockton at 4:12 a.m. and arrives in Pleasanton at 5:32; the second leaves Stockton at 5:22 and arrives in Pleasanton at 6:42. Return trains stop in Pleasanton at 5:09 and 6:39 p.m., arriving in Stockton at 6:34 and 8:04, respectively.
Depending on availability, daily one-way and round trip tickets will also be available. Free WHEELS Flash Passes, available from the Hacienda Owners Association, will be accepted on this route as well.
WHEELS is starting service on a special shuttle to serve ACE riders.
"We'll be meeting both trains at the Pleasanton ACE station and circulating through Hacienda," says Austin O'Dell of WHEELS.
The routes will run in the evenings as well, dropping off passengers in time to meet the return trains.
Also in this issue ...