Incline Village association hosts workforce transportation roundtable discussion
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The Incline Village Crystal Bay Business Association recently gathered local agencies and business owners from the North Shore of Lake Tahoe to discuss solutions for workforce transportation in the basin.
IVCBA Executive Director Linda Offerdahl brought together everyone from Washoe County Commissioner Alexis Hill to small business owners like Bowl Incline owner Steve Tomkovicz, who were able to share their opinions on what needs to be done in the area to support employees.
“There’s noting like a great crisis to bring people together,” said Hill. “I think that’s sadly where we are as a region, and I think that is why people are enthusiastically gathering on this issue.”
One option that was talked about extensively at the roundtable was the use of Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County’s vanpool.
The option would allow businesses to rent vehicles through the RTC program that would allow for multiple passengers to carpool to, and from, work, especially for those workers who live in Carson City and Reno who commute into the basin.
Currently, the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe utilizes the RTC vanpool, and while other businesses may be able to use them to save money on transportation, others questioned if there really was a money-saving factor in the program.
“As a business person, the cost of doing everything is astronomical,” said Tomkovicz. “We can’t very cavalierly say that people can afford another $340 bucks to come up the hill. They can’t. They cost to live in the United States alone is killing people, let alone the cost of living on the lake. So the solution has to be something … hopefully that some of the taxes we pay help pay.”
Other options that were discussed during the roundtable included stipends from Washoe County, which employees currently receive for travel.
Additionally, when signing up for RTC Smart Trips website, riders will be entitled to a guaranteed ride home that is paid back through petty cash.
This means, if riders need to call an Uber or Lyft, the RTC program will reimburse for that ride. These ride covers are limited and are able to be used for emergency purposes.
People can also use the website to find carpool or vanpool matches that could work for them.
TART and TART Connect is another service that runs on the North Shore that is an option for transportation for workers. Currently, the program is looking for funding to continue running in future years.
“We kind of have to find the funding for the program that will sustain it moving forward,” said a Placer County representative.
Employers present at the meeting shared their struggles in the recent economy, ranging from losing employees due to loss of housing to the majority of businesses sharing that many of their employees live off the mountain.
Now that the conversation has begun, the IVCBA Workforce Transportation Roundtable will continue to meet in order to find and share more solutions in the basin.
To learn more about the RTC vanpool programs, visit http://www.rtcwashoe.com/public-transportation/rtc-vanpool.
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