BlueGo on-call services cut, fares rise
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Even after the Tahoe Transportation District board or directors voted Friday to make cuts to BlueGo’s routes and on-call services and raise fares, the struggling transportation service is still projecting a nearly $100,000 shortfall.
“If we don’t have more local participation, then we’ll have to do more in terms of cutting the service,” said Carl Hasty, TTD district manager.
BlueGo’s free on-call service for Ridge Tahoe guests, Lake Tahoe Community College students, and BlueGo employees will be eliminated. The token system will be removed. DayGo passes will rise from $5 to $6 while monthly passes will increase to $45 for local routes and $90 for regional routes.
On-call transit general fares will jump from $6 to $10. Senior and discount fares will rise from $2 to $3. On-call transit between 12:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. on weekends will end. Lines 20X and 21X to Gardnerville and Carson City will be reduced to five runs per day.
The base fare of $2 will not be increased and local fixed route service will not be affected.
Fare changes are designed to simplify the system and make it easy to implement electronic fare boxes, said Gordon Shaw, of LSC Transportation Consultants, who recommended the changes to the TTD.
“What (BlueGo) has now is probably the most complicated fare system I’ve ever seen,” Shaw said.
These changes come as part of BlueGo’s three-part plan to reach an even budget. The service will continue to pursue all available revenue and look for efficiencies within the system, Hasty said.
“This is going to take a lot of diligence,” Hasty said of closing the $100,000 gap. “We need to keep working hard at getting that private sector participation back in.”
While there are many logistics to work out, fare and route changes will be rolled out over the next few months, Hasty said.
Prior to making the changes, BlueGo was facing a budget shortfall of more than $460,000.
TTD board member Steve Teshara saw the changes as a step in the right direction.
“I think the changes we’re about to make are well thought out and they actually improve service,” Teshara said.
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