Modesto Area Express

Last updated
Modesto Area Express
Modesta Area Express logo.png
DefunctModesto Motor Bus Service; Intracity Transit
Headquarters1001 9th Street
Locale Modesto, CA
Service type Bus service, Dial-a-Ride
DestinationsUrban Modesto; Modesto Transportation Center;Southern Pacific Railroad Depot (Modesto, California)Dublin/Pleasanton Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Station; Lathrop/Manteca Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) train station
HubsDowntown Transit Center, Vintage Faire Mall (Back of Mall, Dale Rd. Stop)
Fleet MCI, Gillig, Proterra
Annual ridership2,878,789 (2017) [1]
OperatorNational Express Transit Corporation

Modesto Area Express, better known by the acronym MAX, is the primary bus agency serving over 200,000 inhabitants of Modesto, the county seat and largest city in Stanislaus County, California. MAX provides regular transit and dial-a-ride local service in addition to commuter feeder service to regional rail systems, BART, ACE and Amtrak's San Joaquin train.



Originally, passengers in Modesto were served by streetcars over the short-line Modesto Interurban Railway from 1911 to 1917, operated intermittently first by the Tidewater Southern Railway; the Modesto and Empire Traction Company was founded on October 7, 1911 and began regularly scheduled passenger service between Modesto and Empire on November 1 of that year. Passenger service was discontinued in 1917 after freight became more important. [2]

Public bus transportation service in Modesto started on September 19, 1927, when the City Transit Company (CTC), a private venture, began operations under a city franchise. CTC ran a single bus on a 30-minute schedule, but soon added two more buses to expand service throughout Modesto. [3]

City Transit told the City Council they would renew its liability insurance in June 1932 as a condition to keep the franchise; [4] however, struggling with profitability, the franchise was transferred to a new owner three months later in September 1932. The privately-owned Modesto Motor Bus Service (MBS) took over and ran transit operations in Modesto through 1973, serving a peak of one million riders in 1945 due to wartime shortages of gasoline and automobiles. The 1955 map of four routes resembled a cloverleaf in shape; [3] that year, MBS petitioned the California Public Utilities Commission to raise fares from 15 to 20 cents, with losses projected to be US$7,000(equivalent to $68,000 in 2020) that year. [5]

ex-Intracity Transit GM New Look bus #20126 (photographed in 2006) GM 1970s bus 1 3 (247694123).jpg
ex-Intracity Transit GM New Look bus #20126 (photographed in 2006)

By 1968, the unreliability of the aging MBS fleet led the city to purchase four new GM "old-look" transit buses, [6] [7] :120 which were then leased to MBS to improve its financial health. At the time, MBS was owned and operated by Willis M. Kleinenbroich, who was responsible for maintaining, driving, and dispatching the buses. [7] :120 By 1973, with the service continuing to lose money, Kleinenbroich attempted to sell the company but found no private buyers; instead, it was acquired by the city of Modesto in 1973 and renamed to Intracity Transit. [3] The city would continue to purchase several GM New Look buses in 1973 and 1976. [8] [9] Modesto subsequently rebranded it as Modesto Area Express in 1990. [3]

As the New Look fleet aged, Modesto replaced them with mid-size Rapid Transit Series (1980), [10] Gillig Phantom, and Gillig Low Floor buses; for the longer suburban/commuter express routes, Modesto has used MCI D-Series highway coaches.

On January 26, 2021, the Modesto City Council and the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors each approved the merger of MAX with Stanislaus Regional Transit, forming a new Stanislaus Regional Transit Authority. [11]

Service Hours

MAX operates the following standard hours: [12]

There is no service on certain holidays: [13]

On Presidents Day MAX runs Saturday service.

There is priority seating for older adults and persons with impaired abilities. All buses have wheelchair lifts and also offer bike racks.

There is express commuter service to the Amtrak station in Modesto, the ACE station in Lathrop and the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station.


Route NumberDescription
10Modesto to Turlock
15Modesto, Ceres, Keyes, Turlock
21 Downtown to Robertson Road
22Downtown to McHenry/Vintage Faire Mall
23Downtown to McHenry
24Downtown to Sylvan Avenue
25Downtown to Orangeburg/Vintage Faire Mall
26Downtown to Carpenter Road
28Downtown to Salida and Mall
29Downtown to Crows Landing/JFK Training Center
30Downtown to Modesto Junior College East Campus/Prescott Road/Vintage Faire Mall
31Downtown to Modesto Junior College East/Tully/Pelandale Ave/Vintage Faire Mall
32Downtown to Mable Avenue
33Downtown to Poust Road/Modesto Junior College West Campus
35Escalon Transit (eTRANS)
36Downtown to Central Valley Plaza/Vintage Faire Mall
37Downtown to Rumble Road/Vintage Faire Mall
38Airport neighborhood (Empire & Oregon) - Downtown Modesto
40Modesto, Grayson, Westley, Patterson
41Downtown to Vintage Faire Mall Express
42Downtown to Tucson Avenue/Community Services Building
44Formerly Ceres Area Transit – Blacker & Hackett to Herndon & Hatch
45EPatterson to Turlock
45WGustine, Newman, Crows Landing, Patterson
60Modesto, Riverbank, Oakdale
61Modesto, Empire, Waterford, Hickman, Hughson, Ceres
CTurlock, Patterson, Dublin/Pleasanton BART station
ACE Commuter ExpressModesto, Vintage Faire Park & Ride, Lathrop ACE station
Stockton Commuter ExpressModesto, Vintage Faire Park & Ride, Manteca, Stockton
BART Commuter ExpressModesto, Vintage Faire Park & Ride, Dublin/Pleasanton BART station

Fares as of February 2018

No fare to kids below 6 with fare-paying rider; up to 3.

Cash Fares [14]
and Medicare
Single Ride$2$1.50$1
24-Hour Pass$4
Passes & Tickets [15]
and Medicare
24-Hour Pass$4
7 Day Pass$15
31 Day Bus Pass$58$48$29
Pack of 50 Single Ride Tickets$100$75$50
MAX to BART [16]
One-Way Ticket$14
Round-Trip Ticket$16
31 Day Pass$175
7 Day Pass$50
MAX to ACE [17]
20 Ride Ticket$42

Tickets are available for purchase on board the bus. Passes may be purchased in person at Modesto City Hall, at the MAX Office or by mail. [15] Passes are also available for purchase in the Token Transit mobile ticketing app. [18]


SINCE 1 FEBRUARY 2018: NO MAX transfers to other busses. Fares must be paid or use pass to board a bus. 25 cent transfer to other systems which include StaRT and CAT remain unchanged.

MAX connects to these transit agencies:

MAX transfers
ServiceTypeTransfer point(s)Connects toMAX route(s)Connecting route(s)
Altamont Commuter Express (ACE)Commuter rail Lathrop/Manteca San Jose, Fremont, Santa Clara, Great America ACE Express [19] ACE Rail
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)Metro/commuter rail Dublin/Pleasanton San Francisco Bay Area BART Express [20] Dublin/Pleasanton–Daly City line
WHEELS (Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority)Bus Dublin/Pleasanton Alameda County, with limited service in Contra Costa County BART Express [20] Routes 1, 2, 3, 8, 10R, 14, 20X, 30R, 54, 70X, 503, 580X
San Joaquin Regional Transit District (SJRTD)Bus Dublin/Pleasanton San Joaquin CountyBART Express [20] Route 150
County Connection (Central Contra Costa Transit Authority, CCCTA)Bus Dublin/Pleasanton Contra Costa County, including Clayton, Concord, Lafayette, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, and moreBART Express [20] Routes 35, 36, 97X, 636
Amtrak California Bus Dublin/Pleasanton National and State connectionsBART Express [20] Amtrak Thruway 6, 34
Rail Amtrak Modesto Station Route 25 San Joaquins
Escalon eTransBusmultiple, including Vintage Faire Mall Escalon 22, 25, 28, 30, 31, 36, 37, 41ETRANS 1
Ripon Blossom ExpressBusmultiple, including Vintage Faire Mall Ripon 22, 25, 28, 30, 31, 36, 37, 41Blossom Express


Current MAX fleet (excludes cutaways) [21]
Fleet no.YearMfrModelLengthFuelNotes
20321–203282003 Gillig Low Floor 35'Diesel
20835–208392008 Phantom
20940–209462009 Low Floor
299141999 MCI 102D3 40'
207152007 D4000
212172012 D4500 45'
21874–218782018 Proterra Catalyst E2 40'Electric

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  2. "The History of Beard". Modesto and Empire Traction Company. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
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  4. "Bus Line to Renew Its Insurance to Keep permit". Oakland Tribune. June 19, 1932. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  5. "Modesto Bus Co. Wants Fair Raise". Santa Cruz Sentinel. August 18, 1955. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  6. "GM TDH3501 U.S. Production List". Ohio Museum of Transportation. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  7. 1 2 Conder, Darrell W. (2014). "Six: By Jove! That's a Jefferson Transit Bus I See Coming!". Meet Me At The Bus Stop: 125 Years of Public Transit in Jefferson County, Washington (1889–2014) (PDF) (Report). Port Townsend, Washington: Jefferson County Historical Society. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  8. "GM TDH3302 U.S. Production List". Ohio Museum of Transportation. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  9. "GM T6H4523 A/N U.S. Production List". Ohio Museum of Transportation. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  10. "GM RTS Production List: T7J-603". Ohio Museum of Transportation. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  11. "Stanislaus Regional Transit Authority" . Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  12. "Hours of Operation". Modesto Area Express. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  13. "Holiday Schedules". Modesto Area Express. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  14. "Cash Fares". Modesto Area Express. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  15. 1 2 "Passes & Tickets". Modesto Area Express. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  16. "Passes & Tickets for the MAX to BART Bus". Modesto Area Express. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  17. "Paying Your MAX to ACE Fare". Modesto Area Express. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  18. "Mobile Tickets and Passes with Token Transit". Modesto Area Express. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  19. "ACE Commuter Express". Modesto Area Express. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 "BART Commuter Express". Modesto Area Express. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  21. "Attachment L - Fleet Lists (ZIP file)". Stanislaus Regional Transportation Authority. Retrieved 3 January 2021.