Placer County approves micro transit in Olympic Valley | SierraSun.com

Placer County approves micro transit in Olympic Valley

Hannah Jones
hjones@sierrasun.com

Placer County will move forward with plans to bring an on-demand shuttle service to Olympic Valley approving a 1 percent assessment fee to lodging receipts and single day lifts tickets at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.

"This will really provide an improved competitive advantage to resorts outside of the Tahoe area," said Jennifer Merchant, deputy county executive officer.

Based on numbers from 2017 the assessment fee is expected to bring in $465,00 from lodging and $250,000 from lift ticket revenue with a total annual budget of $715,000.

"The funds spent will be on services that provide a specific benefit to the businesses that pay," said Merchant.

The transit service will operate like other ride sharing services that will allow customers to reserve a trip via smartphone app and will connect to the Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit. Shuttles will pick up and drop off customers at their preferred locations as long as they are near the main shuttle routes that feed both resorts.

Could help congestion

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With the assessment fee the county approved the formation of the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Micro Mass Transit District that will impose the assessment fee and oversee the service. The vote came after business owners, representing 62.5 percent of the total annual assessed value, submitted a petition in favor of forming the district.

"We are very happy to do the assessment on the day tickets, as we've found that to be successful relative to those individuals who are specifically adding to congestion," said Casey Blann senior vice president of operations at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.

Blann said that while people can easily access the resort from Truckee or other areas around Tahoe, traffic congestion closer to the resort is what they aim to fix.

"It's the last mile that really is a challenge for us with congestion in the valley," he said. "What we're trying to achieve is not just the rider ships but the improved parking and service capacity."

The district will begin collecting the assessment fee on Oct. 1 with services to begin in December.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or hjones@sierrasun.com.