Kingsbury Express connects Carson Valley and Stateline |

Kingsbury Express connects Carson Valley and Stateline

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily TribuneRay Sidney, a former Google engineer, owner of Big George Ventures and a major financial backer of the Kingsbury Express bus line, kicks the tires of the new biodiesel bus that's running on the route.

When stepping aboard the BlueGO’s Kingsbury Express, you might see Hans Boeving in the bus driver’s seat.

“I drove Kingsbury when it was still dirt,” Boeving said Tuesday.

Boeving is one of the many bus drivers for the new Kingsbury Express, which began running Tuesday morning.

The new bus service runs between Stateline Transit Center and the Gardnerville Skateboard Park, making stops along the route. The service provides an alternative to driving for commuters between the Carson Valley and Stateline.

Ray Sidney, a former Google engineer and owner of Big George Ventures, helped fund the service with a $1 million donation. A federal clean-fuels grant also helped back the project, so all buses run on biodiesel.

Aztec Transportation Services of Carson City will operate the transit service. The bus will run from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. all week.

Sidney said he’s excited the bus is up and running.

“This will save people time, money and fuel,” Sidney said.

Douglas County Commissioner Nancy McDermid said the county needed the service.

“You can’t drive up and back down for $5,” McDermid said, referring to the round-trip fare.

Sidney and McDermid were among the public officials and Kingsbury Express planners who gathered Tuesday to check out the finished product and ride the route.

To encourage ridership, a limited number of free 10-ride passes and daily schedules will be available at the Lakeside Inn gift shop, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency office on Market Street, the Transit Center behind Cecil’s Steak and Brew and Raley’s supermarket at Stateline.

The passes will be available until February, or until passes run out, said Karen Fink, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency associate transportation planner.

Fink said major employers in the area completed surveys to find out if their employees would use the transit service. When ridership increases, the buses will add stops along the route.

The interior design of the vehicles also should entice riders. The buses have foot rests, cup holders, tray tables and reclining seats.

“We wanted to make sure (riders) aren’t sacrificing creature comforts,” Sidney said.

Aztec Transportation owner Tommy Parker said the goal for the Kingsbury Express is to create a sense of community.

“It could be like ‘Cheers,’ ” he said. “Everybody knows your name and your seat.”

A kickoff party with refreshments and prizes will be held Feb. 1 at Harveys. The time is yet to be announced, Fink said.

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