Sacramento shuttle study approved |

Sacramento shuttle study approved

Sally J. Taylor

A plan to study the need and feasibility of a bus program linking the Sacramento area with South Lake Tahoe was approved Thursday by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority Board of Directors.

The Nevada-side Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority previously approved up to $30,000 to fund the research. That board asked for LTVA staff and resource support for the study, but not additional funds.

“The TDVA is not looking for dollars from the LTVA, but support,” said Kevin Servatius, TDVA chairman and newly appointed vice-chairman of the LTVA.

The research would look at the potential of providing a luxury motorcoach to Sacramento, similar to the Tahoe Casino Express that now operates between Stateline and Reno.

Currently, Servatius explained, many Indian casinos in Northern California provide bus service to their properties.

The study would look at whether first-class bus transportation would encourage people in the Sacramento market to come all the way to South Shore.

The TDVA and LTVA are looking at the study for market research, not to operate a bus route themselves.

“The TDVA would not even come close to creating a transportation system,” Servatius said. “We support the research into the need.”

The Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance, which operates the Tahoe Casino Express, is the most likely organization to take on a Sacramento route if it looks beneficial.

In other business, the LTVA board also approved replacing the six-year-old, free-standing insert marketing program, which places South Lake Tahoe travel planners in select California newspapers, with direct mailings.

The program would cost the LTVA $84,585 for three mailings. Filled with South Shore promotions, the mailings would be designed to stimulate tourism visits in spring, summer, fall and winter. Those receiving the envelopes would be targeted to specific higher-income individuals with an interest in gaming and skiing.

Those responding would have pin numbers to aid in tracking results, but there is no guarantee that participating business would keep track of whether a customer were responding to the mailing.

Much of the discussion centered on how to improve tracking.

Tom Davis, the one dissenting vote, expressed concern about whether the mailing program would provide an effective tracking system to determine whether or not it was driving business.

“I’d be more comfortable if the marketing folks can come up with a definitive tracking method,” he said.

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