TTD assumes daily transit system operations
Tahoe Transportation District assumed daily operations of the bus transit system in South Lake Tahoe Friday, July 1.
The system of 42 buses currently accounts for more than 800,000 trips annually throughout the South Shore of Lake Tahoe on both sides of the state line and includes local fixed-route and commuter bus service connecting the area with Carson City and the Carson Valley. Service also includes winter ski shuttles, summer trolley service to Emerald Bay and Tahoe City, and summer bus service from Incline Village and Stateline to Sand Harbor.
While existing routes and fares will remain the same, TTD is surveying the public at http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/transitintahoe through Friday, July 10, and the results will factor into the 2017 vision for an interregional transit system that provides safe, reliable and attractive service for Tahoe residents, visitors and commuters.
TTD is focusing on the goal of increasing ridership, which in turn will result in less vehicles on the road. Automobiles are the major source of emissions that pollute the air and fuel algae growth in the lake. A previous study indicated that over 70 percent of the particulates impacting Lake Tahoe’s famed water clarity originate from the transportation system and land development.
TTD directly operating transit instead of a private operator results in a more efficient use of public funds and a focus on service to the community. Direct operation enables TTD to evaluate the fleet’s maintenance and operations, and implement timely solutions. It also links the staff directly to the community, providing higher accountability and consistent service delivery. TTD is currently recruiting experienced drivers and mechanics to join its team. To apply, visit http://www.tahoetransportation.org.
The evolving transit system will be recognized as “TTD” as it moves from the expired operations and maintenance contract and previous “BlueGo” moniker. The transition includes a recently negotiated driver contract that was ratified unanimously, as well as employee training sessions emphasizing safety, service and public operations.
“Providing convenient, safe, dependable, affordable, and environmentally friendly transportation that connects communities throughout the Basin is essential to the economic health of the Lake Tahoe region,” said Carl Hasty, district manager for Tahoe Transportation District. “We plan to design and build a world-class system for a world-class destination.”
With funding through El Dorado County’s portion of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Funds, TTD has been able to expand its free summer ride program to include heavily traveled routes 50 and 53 in South Lake Tahoe daily throughout July and weekends until Labor Day. The West Shore Trolley has expanded service to Tahoe City this year as a result of a low-carbon transit operation program from California’s Cap-and-Trade Program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Public-private partnerships will continue to expand and offer safe and efficient options to get riders to their destinations, including year-round service to and from Heavenly Mountain Resort. TTD is also working with the City of South Lake Tahoe to provide guests information at the Explore Tahoe Center near Heavenly Village on how to utilize public transit to recreational attractions.
A new mobile app will be available by end of summer for visitors and residents to find out when the next bus will arrive and plan their trip, whether taking transit, walking, biking or connecting with ride-share services.
Tahoe Transportation District’s long-term vision is to complete a transit system connecting South Lake Tahoe communities with North Lake Tahoe communities via a cross-lake, year-round, high-speed passenger ferry. Concurrently, TTD will promote enhanced inter-regional public transit connections, which will reduce congestion as well as benefit the economy, safety, environment, water quality and convenience in each community. Bringing the goal to fruition will involve collaboration with Tahoe Area Regional Transit operated by Placer County, and ongoing involvement from the communities to be served.
In other TTD news: The East Shore Express, a park and ride bus from Incline Village to Sand Harbor, will continue summer operations for a fifth consecutive year with a new route from the South Shore to Sand Harbor this season. Daily buses from Incline Village run every 20 minutes from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Sept. 5. A new additional route this summer is South Shore service from Kingsbury Transit Center in Stateline, Nevada, with a morning pickup at 8:45 a.m. and an evening drop off at 7:45 p.m. The roundtrip fare is $3 per person and $1.50 for children 12 and under, seniors and disabled passengers. Fares include admission to Sand Harbor.