Homeless issue forces closure of South Y Transit Center Station | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Homeless issue forces closure of South Y Transit Center Station

For the past several months, the South Y Transit Center Station has been locked up and unstaffed.

Though buses still make pick-ups and drop-offs at the location, persistent issues with the homeless population have forced Tahoe Transportation District (TTD) to lock up the facility, which formerly offered transit users bathrooms, inside seating, and an employee available for questions and concerns.

"The decision was made several months ago, and it was out of concern for the safety of our employees as well as anybody else who may be waiting in there," said Carl Hasty, TTD district manager. "It became rather difficult with folks, especially the homeless, and us trying to police that and keep things safe and make sure people aren't staying and sleeping there."

"Due to persistent damage and abuse, the Y Transit lobby will only be open when staffed," reads one sign on the closed building. "Zero tolerance for alcohol consumption at Y Transit. Police will be called," states another.

“The police have plenty to do, and we work with them and they with us, but having a presence the whole time is not possible.”

—Carl Hasty, TTD district manager

But even with the station locked up, it remains a troublesome area.

"We get calls there daily now," said Lt. Shannon Laney, public information officer for the South Lake Tahoe Police Department. "Disturbing the peace calls, fight calls."

Public intoxication, open containers of alcohol, and public urination are other issues the police department deals with near the transit center.

On Friday, March 24, four homeless men were transported to Barton Memorial Hospital after an argument turned violent. One man was stabbed, and the other three sustained injuries ranging from cuts to blunt force trauma. The incident took place in broad daylight — just after 5 p.m.

Issues with the homeless population are happening at other areas near the Y, too.

"We've also had calls from the Wells Fargo bank and Raley's in the same shopping center to where some of them have been eighty-sixed from the property, and we've arrested them for trespassing when they've gone back," said Laney. "It's one small way that we've dealt with some of it."

Hasty said TTD won't reopen the transit center until they find a security solution.

"The police have plenty to do, and we work with them and they with us, but having a presence the whole time is not possible," noted Hasty. "We are looking into that now in terms of being able to add a security service — and we think maybe for the whole area that it's important."