Truckee mulls free downtown shuttle for Xmas, New Year’s Eve holidays
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Traffic in downtown Truckee may let up this holiday season — at least between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Truckee Town Council advised staff on Oct. 11 to pursue funding partnerships so a potentially free shuttle service could be provided in and out of Truckee’s downtown district between the winter holidays.
“The week in question is and has always been our busiest time of year,” said Truckee Downtown Merchants Association President Mike Preaseau in an email.
Preaseau, who owns Cooking Gallery, a kitchen goods store in downtown Truckee’s Brickelltown District, said traffic becomes a challenge around the holidays.
“Gridlock has been known to occur,” he said. “I personally feel that holiday shuttles would help to alleviate some of the congestion.”
The details of the service have yet to be determined, and will depend on contributions from potential funding partners.
In the Oct. 11 presentation to town council, Truckee Public Works Director and Town Engineer Dan Wilkins said, “The cost for this service would be in the $40,000-$70,000 range.”
“The reason for the large range is ultimately the frequency of the service is going to drive the cost,” he said.
The recommendation Wilkins made on behalf of town staff was that the service be provided free of charge, and run in evening.
“Our suggestion is we set this up to be a free service like we did with the Truckee Thursday shuttle,” he said.
The proposal, which the town council approved, was for staff to pursue funding partners to support the holiday shuttle, which the town would then match on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
Truckee Administrative Analyst Kelly Beede said the idea to expand the holiday shuttle service spurred from the success of the Truckee Thursday shuttle that was offered over the summer to and from the downtown event, as well as the New Year’s Eve shuttle offered by the town the last two years to provide downtown bar patrons a safe and sober ride home.
“It was exciting to see first time users of public transit have such a positive experience on the Truckee Thursday shuttle,” she said.
She said the $40,000-$70,000 figure includes the cost of operating the service, as well as marketing efforts, but a more precise number won’t be available until town staff hears back from potential operators.
Beede also said contracting an operator to run the service is necessary because Tahoe Area Regional Transit (TART) doesn’t have enough drivers or buses to run the service in addition to its regular winter holiday schedule.
“We have 6 buses in our fleet. At a minimum, this service would require an estimated 9 buses,” she said.
While Beede stressed the service area and schedule are far from solidified and will depend on funding, she said staff is hoping the service would be able to run until about 2 a.m. or 2:30 a.m. to ensure everyone has a safe ride home.
Town staff is planning to go before council again with a recommendation to hire a contractor and present additional information on funding partnerships and route schedules, which Beede said will likely occur at the Dec. 13 town council meeting.
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