Do you want to take the bus to your bridge game? To basketball practice? Next month, Thousand Oaks residents will be able to wave down a "Smart Shuttle," a bus that travels a fixed route but can leave the beaten path when passengers want to make an undesignated stop.
Thousand Oaks will be the only city in the county to have such a system, though other cities have buses that veer from the fixed route with 24 hours' notice.
The 20-passenger vehicles, which will cost $1 for regular fare, will cover the area between Moorpark Road and the area around Erbes Road. The shuttle will serve major destinations such as The Oaks mall, Janss Marketplace and senior, community and youth centers.
The Laidlaw-operated buses, modeled on similar buses in Los Angeles and New Orleans, will cut the wait time for passengers from 60 minutes to 30 minutes, according to Thousand Oaks transportation analyst Roy Myers.
"The Smart Shuttle is the way to go in terms of good transportation because it's more flexible for a city like ours that is not on a grid system," he said.
The six-month pilot program, starting in February, will cost the city about $85,000 and if successful expand to cover other parts of the city. For more information, call the Thousand Oaks public works department at 449-2400.