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September 4, 2014
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New Tahoe-Truckee bus option offers older adults rides to Sac, Reno

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Older adults who struggle with securing transportation to regional and out-of-the-area destinations have a new option.

North Tahoe/Truckee Transport, a pilot program that launched July 31, provides origin-to-destination, ADA-accessible public transit, said Tara Styer, mobility manager for Tahoe Transportation District.

Destinations include Reno, Grass Valley, Nevada City, Auburn, Roseville, Sacramento, Truckee and North Lake Tahoe communities in eastern Placer County.

There are three out-of-the area trips (Nevada City/Grass Valley, Auburn/Roseville/Sacramento/Davis and Reno) a month, and two regional trips (Truckee and North Shore) a month.

“(It) increases access to medical and dental services and speciality services that aren’t available in the region,” Styer said. “It also connects folks who may no longer be able to drive to enrichment programs and other outlets.”

Priority is given to those over 60, with users required to make a reservation at least three days ahead. Reservations can be made by calling 530-550-7451.

Ride requests are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s recommended transportation be scheduled prior to making an appointment time.

A confirmation call will be made two days before a scheduled trip, providing an approximate pick-up time. Departure and arrival times are determined by origin and destination locations and number of passengers.

Those under 60 who make a reservation will be wait-listed and can only secure a spot on the vehicle if space is available.

BETTER SERVICE FOR SENIORS

The North Tahoe/Truckee Transport is a one-bus fleet that features eight standard seats and two wheelchair securement locations.

The operator and bus provider is Gold Country Telecare, a Grass Valley-based nonprofit that provides transportation for Nevada County seniors and those with disabilities.

This is a curb-to-curb service; door-to-door must be requested while making a reservation. Drivers cannot enter homes or go beyond the doorway of any building.

Trip time depends on passenger pick-up locations and final destinations, and users are advised to bring basic necessities such as medication, food and money, considering certain routes may include multiple stops.

Passengers will be picked up at the location they were dropped off. Those who do not need a return trip need to inform the driver.

The TTD and the town of Truckee partnered to develop the program. It is not affiliated with regional transportation planning agencies.

“Through the years of unmet needs hearings we’ve had ... it comes up that folks need transportation out of the area for medical appointments,” said Kelly Beede, parking services manager for the town of Truckee. “... I think even beyond that, it provides an opportunity for seniors to be less isolated and to go to enrichment programs and get them to places where they can have social interaction.”

‘USE IT OR LOSE IT’

Program funding is secured to the end of June 2015 through a $50,000 Area 4 Agency on Aging grant. In order to continue, the following thresholds must be met in its pilot year:

Fifty-five unduplicated passengers over 60 (eastern Placer County: 20, eastern Nevada County: 35)

One hundred eighty, one-way passenger trips by those over 60 (eastern Placer County: 80, eastern Nevada County: 100).

Since its launch, the program has had 13 unduplicated passengers in Nevada County and one in Placer County, Styer said. As for one-way trips, 26 have been made in Nevada County, and two in Placer County.

“It has to be utilized,” Styer said. “It’s a kind of a use it or lose it type of program.”

To learn more about the program, visit www.tahoetransportation.org/nttt.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 4, 2014 05:19PM Published Sep 8, 2014 10:56AM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.