The numbers on the buses go up and down
While the holidays bring high ridership numbers to local public transportation, the new Truckee night service has not yet caught on.
Ski area shuttles and the Tahoe Area Regional Transit have been busy over the last few weeks, with TART transporting more than 1,000 riders a day during the holidays.
The Truckee night service, which began Dec. 14, is aimed at tourists staying at local hotels headed to downtown Truckee for dinner and shopping. The new service has yet to see many riders, but proponents say it’s only a matter of time before the word gets out.
“People need to know it’s available,” said Lynn Saunders, president and CEO of the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce. “It’s an education process.”
Saunders said the chamber hasn’t received much feedback on the service, but said it is working to inform visitors.
Hotels will play an important role in telling their guests about the service, Saunders said, because the program came out of a partnership between local hotels and the town.
While the new evening service is aimed at tourists staying at hotels and resorts, Saunders said locals could also benefit from the program.
“It is primarily tourists, but locals who work downtown can use it if it fits their schedule,” Saunders said.
Melissa Dornsife, assistant general manager of Aztec Transportation, said in the first six evenings the service was offered up to 10 passengers used the shuttle, with an increase to 30 riders on Dec. 23.
Aztec is the company the town contracted to operate the shuttle.
Dornsife said while the evening shuttle service hasn’t had much ridership, the two town ski-shuttles to Sugar Bowl and Northstar are very popular.
“We’ve been seeing 300 to 400 people a day,” Dornsife said. “All of the Northstar employees and skiers use it.”
TART buses are seeing high ridership numbers for the holidays, said Linda Stephens, TART administrative dispatcher.
“TART is running really, really heavy because of the holidays and because of all the people hired by the resorts,” Stephens said.
She said daily ridership has been between 1,191 and 1,543 passengers since Dec. 20.
“This is normal for this time of year,” Stephens said. “Our high-seasons are winter and summer.”
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