Town Council hears transit update
Truckee Town Council this week was provided with an update on the area’s transit system and future plans to make public transportation more widely accessible.
Truckee’s Long-Range Transit Plan was developed in 2017, and according to Town Engineer Dan Wilkins, has roughly a five-year shelf life.
Since the development of the transit plan, which includes services like TART, community shuttles, and airport shuttles, there has been an increase in service times from eight hours per day, six days a week, to 12 hours per day, seven days a week. A night service was also implemented in 2019, along with free fares during the same time, which according to Transit Administrative Analyst Kelly Beede, led to a 30% increase in ridership. Beede said ridership continued to increase in 2020 before the pandemic, leaping 45% compared to the same winter months in 2019.
“Because of the success of the free fares and the increase in our ridership, Placer County TART went to free fares as well in December of 2019,” said Beede during Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.
As far as implementing additional services, Beede said funding is the biggest obstacle to overcome. Transit services also faced a regional driver shortage last winter — due in part to the outbreak of COVID-19 — that led to night services being canceled. Those services have since been reinstated.
With the town’s growing population and the previous plan approaching its five-year shelf life, Beede said there is a need to update Truckee’s Long-Range Transit Plan.
Other future steps include the construction of a new transit center, which potentially could be placed in the Railyard development. The town identified the area as its preferred location, but would still need to purchase the land. A new transit center is being proposed in order to relieve congestion at the current downtown site, provide additional space for a larger fleet of buses, and could be developed for short-term use as a staging area before any building is constructed.
Other future plans at this time include looking at the feasibility of using a microtransit system, which exists in Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, and is being introduced in North Tahoe as part of a pilot program. Long range plans also include looking at bike share programs, and transitioning to electric vehicles.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643.
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