Transit riders get a dose of blue |

Transit riders get a dose of blue

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Hoping to catch a ride on Lake Tahoe’s Blue World marketing campaign, a new transit system installed on the South Shore will now be called Blue Go.

The transit system relies on computer software to link public transit vehicles owned by South Lake Tahoe, ski resorts and Stateline casinos.

“We wanted a name that is fun and not intimidating for visitors but at the same time reflects the culture and value of the residents,” said Sue Hyde, vice president of marketing at Caesars Tahoe and board member of a management company formed to oversee the coordinated transit system.

Global Positioning System software is already installed on the 37 vehicles, a mix of shuttles, buses and vans, that are part of Blue Go. Computer terminals called kiosks and transit phones are being installed and should all be in place by the end of June, said Nick Haven, associate transportation planner at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

The system is expected to become operational in the city by the end of June. The casinos shuttles will be woven in after Sept. 1, when the peak of summer business has passed.

“Everything appears on track,” said Mike Bradford, owner of Lakeside Inn & Casino. “We’ll switch just after Labor Day. We’re not going to try to change people’s behavior right at peak volume.”

Recommended Stories For You

When all aspects of the system are in place, residents and visitors will be able to book rides at the 31 kiosks scattered around South Shore or by using one of 65 phones that are part of the system. The kiosks will also allow customers to track arrival times of vehicles or link to sites on the Internet that provide real-time weather and road conditions, transit schedules and facts about restaurants and activities at South Shore.

Blue Go logos will first be applied to kiosks, 19 of which were installed as of today. Logos will also go on vehicles that are part of the coordinated system.

Work to coordinate public transit at South Shore has been talked about since the mid-1990s. The goal is to create a more efficient transient system that attracts more ridership and decreases reliance on privately owned cars and trucks. Increased ridership would mean less air pollution and less traffic congestion at South Shore.

The purchase and installation of $3.6 million worth of software was funded by federal, state and local grant money. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency required the coordinated transit system in part to compensate for building projects such as the redevelopment at Stateline.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at