Truckee deals with transportation issues | SierraSun.com

Truckee deals with transportation issues

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun

It’s a simple enough concept, but for Truckee and North Shore residents trying to commute sans car, just getting to work in the morning can be a major ordeal.

It was for that reason and more that a group of concerned citizens representing local resorts and transportation operations gathered Tuesday for a workshop that assessed the transportation resources and needs of people living and working in Truckee.

“Transportation is the key to our success as a business, and the need is unbelievable,” said Paul Borcherding, a project manager in the Sugar Bowl ski resort planning and development office. “But it takes the right vehicles and the right drivers, and it’s a huge amount of work.”

Sugar Bowl offers its guests and employees access to a free shuttle service from Truckee in the winter, a resource that many people take advantage of.

However, the problem is with connections, an issue echoed through all the transportation systems, including the Truckee Trolley and Tahoe Area Regional Transit (TART).

Once a passenger gets off of one transportation network to transfer to another, the wait can be long and inconvenient or so tight that a missed green-light might mean a missed bus.

Plus, there are large gaps between service areas. Glenshire for example, is not included on any public transportation routes, and people who live in Kings Beach and wish to come to Truckee must first go all the way to Squaw Valley because there isn’t a summer route on Highway 267.

As it is, the town of Truckee spends upwards of $800,000 on transportation annually, including the Truckee Trolly, Dial-a-Ride and some winter transit, according to Assistant Town Manager Alex Terrazas. There is no formal plan to expand routes, he said, though there has been some discussion about purchasing two more Dial-a-Ride vans, which see heavy use.

Just last year, Dial-a-Ride drivers responded to more than 16,500 calls, and an additional 42,000 passengers took a ride on TART, the trolley and local winter shuttles, according to Terrazas.

“Increasing night service is a potential,” Terrazas said, acknowledging the need for extended services after work and into the dining hours. “But $2 (for a ticket) doesn’t cover the cost of the service.”

And the cost of vehicles, gas and drivers is exactly what it comes down to.

“It’s all about money,” said Jan Colyer, executive director of the Truckee-North Tahoe Transportation Management Association. “The word transportation has a big dollar sign on the T.”

Workshop attendees seemed to be fully aware of the costs associated with increasing services, but still spoke adamantly about the need to make things happen.

“We have to hit this before it’s too late,” said Truckee Town Council member Barbara Green of the mounting traffic issues in Truckee. “This is going to be a hell of a problem if we don’t all get involved.”

For more information contact Jan Colyer at 581-3922.