Caesar’s Tahoe joins CTS |

Caesar’s Tahoe joins CTS

With new management come new ideas – and Caesars Tahoe claims no exception to that rule.

In a reversal of its previous decision not to join Coordinated Transit System – a transportation project developed by both public and private South Shore interests – Caesars Tahoe has recently decided to contribute to the project.

“Through a change of management we have also changed our posture on CTS,” said Mel Thomas, Caesars Tahoe executive vice president and general manager. “We have re-evaluated our position and feel we should support it. CTS is positive for the city, it’s a communal effort, we believe it would be productive and beneficial to participate.”

Caesars will contribute three vans to the system and pay an annual sum of $215,340 for the first two years. This will increase total operating dollars to $1,796,900. In addition, $1.2 million in project mitigation funds along with two 1996 federal grants will provide $3.7 million for the project, said Dick Powers, executive director of South Shore Transportation Management Association.

“It’s a very positive thing that Caesars decided to join,” Powers said. “There was a philosophical difference on the part of former senior management – they didn’t feel it was in Caesars’ best interest at that time.”

An amendment to the stakeholders agreement, bringing Caesars into the equation, was approved by the South Lake Tahoe City Council last week. The stakeholders for the project, which is scheduled to begin running in 14 months, now include Heavenly Ski Resort, Harveys Resort Hotel/Casino, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Caesars Tahoe, Horizon Casino Resort, Lakeside Inn & Casino, El Dorado County, Douglas County, the City of South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Tahoe Transportation District.

In time, and if everything runs according to plan, Powers expects Coordinated Transit System to own a fleet of 53 uniform vehicles – ranging from vans to full-size buses – and a cutting-edge operating system which will make catching a bus user-friendly, simple and fast. The goal of the project is to incorporate current transportation systems including casino vans, STAGE, Bus Plus, Nifty 50 Trolleys and Heavenly shuttles into one system, in the hopes of reducing traffic and improving air quality.

“They will all be folded together into one operating entity,” Powers said. “Then we will use technology to operate all those systems together. It will be one transportation system with a common look and operated under one common umbrella.”

Powers added that an agreement between Coordinated Transit System and the company creating the operating system will be signed this month.

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