TART Connect handles snow head on this season
Special to the Sierra Sun
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. – The TART Connect system is still going strong following the series of storms that hit that basin in late December 2021, and residents along the North Shore are grateful for the continued service as the roads continue to be cleared.
“Allowing the commercial drives that have been trained to drive in those types of conditions, to be the ones on the road moving people around is definitely our goal,” said Truckee/Tahoe Area Regional Transit Manager for Transit Services Jaime Wright. “It does allow for a reduction in accidents and things like that, since we don’t have as many people out driving who are unfamiliar with the conditions.”
The TART services have been expanded to being offered from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. daily, allowing residents from around the North Shore to call a car that will give them a ride for free. With the increase of storms in the basin, the TART teams have been preparing the best they can.
“When we get those types of storms,” said Wright, “for transit, it’s business as usual. There were some lessons learned with the contractor who’s running TART Connect for us; things like running out of fuel, understanding how to clean out the vehicles and be prepared and on time for service.”
There are certain factors that can contribute to the temporary closure of TART and TART Connect. Chain controls can delay rides as well, and most times, drivers will wait for plows to clear the roads somewhat before driving, choosing to follow closely behind the plows for the ease.
Some residents were at a loss when the TART Connect and TART fixed-line had been down for a day, but Wright said it’s a matter of public safety.
“If the roads are impossible and we have high winds, avalanches, and things like that, we will tend to pull service for the day,” said Wright. “Most of our local agencies were also encouraging everybody to stay home and stay safe at that point as well.”
Many of the drivers that work for TART Connect are experienced in driving in the winter storms, but Wright said they also receive training beforehand to ensure everyone has a safe ride.
Moving forward, Wright said the district will be working on both the fixed-line service and connection services in order to help things run smoothly and continue to improve the programs.
“We were very dependent on Connect when we had to pull some of our TART fixed-route services. TART fixed-route carries an abundant amount of people on the larger buses, and it really overwhelmed the TART Connect system,” said Wright. “So being able to have the longer connections via fixed-route, and then implementing more of a first mile, last mile alternative with the TART Connect is definitely something we’ll continue to evaluate and move forward with.”
For more information about TART Connect on the North Shore, visit tahoetruckeetransit.com/tart-connect-2.
Miranda Jacobson is a staff writer for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun
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