Bus use up; summer transit will expand
Local buses will make their rounds more frequently this summer and serve new routes in the North Tahoe and Truckee region.Every season we keep increasing ridership, said Jan Colyer, executive director of the Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association. The more we increase ridership, the more opportunities we have to increase service. It really is working.The West Shore shuttle will resume its free service Friday offering rides between Tahoe City and Emerald Bay. The shuttle will be up and running in time for the premiere of the West Shore Associations Memorial Day Weekend celebration, Opening Day at the Lake.In a continuing effort to promote recreation, the U.S. Forest Service has extended its grant to underwrite the West Shore shuttle for a season more than twice as long as the free service was available last year.The reason we are behind funding this is that we are aware that much of the recreation traffic, especially along the West Shore, is to access state and federal recreation areas campgrounds, beaches, the overlook at Emerald Bay. So were trying to encourage people to use transit instead of their private automobiles, said U.S. Forest Service recreation staff officer Colin West.And for tourists and locals who want to experience both the beauty of Lake Tahoe and the charm of Historic Truckee, a new Northstar Resort shuttle will connect the two destinations.Its exciting to make the first summer connection on Highway 267, Colyer said.The free Tahoe City trolley will also be expanded this season, operating in a continuous loop from Granlibakken to Lake Forest Road during the daytime.Additionally, hourly service will be available now on Highway 89 connecting Tahoe City, Squaw Valley and the Truckee Train Depot.
The enhanced summer services are funded through a variety of agencies, including the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. Roughly $860,000 of transient occupancy taxes have been earmarked for transportation programs in the coming year, said Ron Treabess, community partners and planning director at the resort association.Were continuing to either add or make services go a little bit further or to make them more frequent, Treabess said. Our overall goal is to make the whole system run on something called 30-minute headways, but thats a ways out.Depending on funding and the availability of vehicles and drivers, the resort association is aiming for continuous year-round transportation throughout the North Tahoe-Truckee triangle by 2011, Treabess said.Its one of those things that the more transportation we can provide, the more ridership we can get. Because were making it more convenient …. and it becomes more successful, he said.Additionally, the Town of Truckee, Washoe County, U.S. Forest Service and private businesses, among others, help fund transit services in North Lake Tahoe and Truckee.The transportation association is continuing to work toward providing reliable service throughout the year and has also initiated a campaign to improve the state of area bus shelters, said Colyer.Transit is on the rise as far as ridership, but the bus shelters need some help, she said.
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