Free shuttle rides to be offered on New Year’s in Truckee (updated)
TRUCKEE, Calif. — There will be a free-ride-home option available Wednesday night for Truckee revelers looking to ring in the New Year.
The town and local businesses are partnering on a five-fleet shuttle that will depart from the downtown train depot for three runs at 12:15 a.m., 1:15 a.m. and 2:15 a.m. on Thursday, New Year’s Day.
It’s a first-of-its-kind program for Truckee, said Assistant Town Manager Alex Terrazas, and staff plans to collect ridership data to determine if it becomes an annual offering.
“We wanted to provide locals and visitors a different option to have an opportunity to get home safety,” he said, adding that the partnership “speaks highly to the desire of the downtown business community … to be able to provide a safe option for folks.”
Five buses — one from the town, offering disabled access, and four from Reno Tahoe Limousine, which the town is contracting with — will service neighborhoods at Sierra Meadows, Northstar California, Glenshire, Prosser, Tahoe Donner, Squaw Valley, Donner Lake and Donner Summit, going as far west as Boreal Mountain Resort.
The service costs about $2,000 to fund, Terrazas said, with the town putting up roughly $1,200, and the businesses splitting the rest.
Each bus will drive a different route, broken into the following areas: Sierra Meadows/Northstar, Prosser/Glenshire, Tahoe Donner/Squaw, and Donner Lake/Donner Summit.
Three of the RTA buses each seat 20 people and one seats 30, while 12 can fit on the town’s bus, Terrazas said.
According to the schedule, those taking the final 2:15 a.m. route should make it home by about 3 a.m. or earlier.
The shuttle came together late Monday afternoon after discussions among officials and businesses on how to provide residents — particularly those planning to consume alcohol while celebrating the New Year — a safe alternative to drunken driving.
“We want people to celebrate and enjoy the new year, but to do so responsibly and to plan ahead,” said Truckee Police Chief Adam McGill.
The Truckee Downtown Merchant’s Association is partnering with the town on the shuttle, as well as the following downtown bars/restaurants: Mellow Fellow, Pastime Club, Tourist Club, Bar of America, El Toro Bravo and Moody’s Bistro, Bar & Beats.
Amy Norman, a manager at Bar of America and a TDMA board member, said the shuttle is a welcome addition for Truckee, which doesn’t have much in terms of reliable night-time transportation options.
“Just the fact so many people get DUIs, to at least throw out an option there, we’re thrilled,” she said. “I am very involved with TDMA, and there are several events that we and the town and the police department collaborate on together, and this is just one more thing that we’re all doing together.”
At Lake Tahoe’s North and West Shores, the free Night Rider shuttle that launched Dec. 15 will again offer extended New Year’s Eve night service.
The Tahoe Area Regional Transit program offering transportation to Tahoma, Tahoe City, Squaw Valley, Northstar, Kings Beach and Crystal Bay operates until 2 a.m. Thursday and will have additional runs between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.
While no DUI checkpoints are planned within Truckee town limits, McGill said the department will be fully staffed Wednesday night into Thursday morning with an eye toward impaired driving.
“There is really no legitimate reason to get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking,” added TPD Capt. Rob Leftwich. “With all the other options available, it is just not worth the risk. Buzzed driving is drunk driving, and all too often people forget about driving while impaired.”
Likewise, the California Highway Patrol is not planning DUI checkpoints on Interstate 80 or state highways 267, 89 and 28 in the North Tahoe-Truckee area, said Pete Mann, public information officer for the CHP-Truckee office.
And while the office did not receive grant funding for DUI-aimed enforcement this New Year’s Eve, Mann said that doesn’t mean CHP officers won’t be out in droves.
“New Year’s is always a maximum enforcement period for us, and every available officer is working throughout the week,” he said. “Maximum enforcement, it’s not to jack up stats, but it’s to increase awareness so officers can keep to the roads open and nice and smooth.”
On the Nevada side, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office will have eight additional personnel — a 75 percent staffing increase — patrolling Incline Village and Crystal Bay from 8 p.m. Wednesday to 8 a.m. Thursday, said Lt. Jeff Clark.