Not as many laps for bus service |

Not as many laps for bus service

Greg Risling

The Lake Lapper will be making fewer rounds in Tahoe under a proposed budget by the Tahoe Transportation District.

The transit agency’s executive director Richard Hill plans to recommend that the Lake Lapper scale back its service at Friday’s TTD board meeting at 10 a.m. in South Lake Tahoe City Council Chambers.

The budget will preserve most of the transit services in the basin such as the Nifty Fifty Trolley, which was previously threatened by cuts. But the Lake Lapper’s current level of operation will be adversely affected if the budget is adopted.

Hill is suggesting that the Lake Lapper, the bus system that circles the lake, run 12 hours a day, Thursday through Sunday. Currently, the Lapper operates 18 hours every day of the week.

The number of “loop” trips would be reduced to four instead of the usual seven. Also on the chopping block would be the Lapper’s weekend night service that has seen success in the past.

The Lapper has lost a two-year, Caltrans demonstration grant that produced a gaping hole in the Lapper budget, estimated at roughly 50 percent.

“We rearranged our fiscal scenarios to keep the Lapper running,” Hill said. “Unfortunately, our subsidy has gone away and it has been difficult to maintain funding for all of our projects.”

Previous draft budget proposals seen by transit officials nearly took funding away from other systems. Last week, TTD tentatively announced that $25,000 projected for the Nifty 50 Trolley wouldn’t be jeopardized. Hill confirmed that fact on Thursday and said last year’s allocation, $50,000, will remain intact.

The Lapper, however, wasn’t as fortunate. Hill said he will have a “full-court press” for funding between now and March, when the district re-visits the fiscal outlook. The Lapper will rely largely on revenues from farebox receipts and rental car mitigation fees.

“The cutback addresses the reality there is a lack of available funding sources out there,” Hill said. “We have to maintain the Lapper’s continuity, but it doesn’t meet all of our objectives.”

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What: Tahoe Transportation District meeting

When: Friday, 10 a.m.

Where: South Lake Tahoe Council Chambers

Why: Pending approval of ’97-’98 budget

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