Transportation board to discuss new service schedule, budget |

Transportation board to discuss new service schedule, budget

Annie Flanzraich
Submitted to the TribuneThis map shows proposed changes to BlueGo's service.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif – South Tahoe’s transportation agency is set to discuss at its meeting Friday a new service plan for BlueGO could reduce or eliminate bus routes while increasing service along Highway 50.

The South Tahoe Area Transit Authority Board of Directors is set to meet at 10 a.m. at 128 Market Street in Stateline.

The board is also scheduled to discuss and approve the agency’s budget for the 2010/2011 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The budget and the new service schedule go hand in hand, said spokeswoman Stacy Dingman, as a new adjusted schedule will help the agency control costs throughout the year.

The service plan, prepared by LSC Transportation Consultants, makes a number of adjustments that could affect BlueGO’s riders from Minden, Gardnerville, Carson and Meyers.

Before making any changes, the agency must solicit public input and begin a formal outreach campaign, Dingman siad.

“There are changes we know we need to make now, but it’s not an overnight sweeping change,” she said. “We want people on board and want their input to make it the least painful.”

A time line for public input has not been solidified yet, Dingman said.

The proposed service changes would save the agency $263,700 or about 10 percent. Ridership could also increase by 3 percent or 20,000 passenger-trips, according to the report. If BlueGO continues to operate the way it does, the agency would be about $160,000 in the red, according to LSC.

In the immediate service plan, which would be enacted after sufficient public outreach, LSC proposes eliminating the route that runs from the Stateline Transit Center to Zephyr Cove and Kingsbury Elementary School via US Highway 50 and the Meyers Circulator.

The Stateline/Zephyr Cove route serves an average of 2.7 trips per hour, except in the peak summer tourist season when it serves an average of 3 trips an hour. The Meyers Circulator serves about 2.2 trips per hour on average over the course of the year.

To replace these routes, LSC proposes that the transit agency provide an OnCall transfer fare of $4 to the general public that would be valid for trips that include transfers to or from a valid transfer center. OnCall trips currently cost $6 each way. Valid transfer centers could include the South Y Transit Center, the Stateline Transit Center, the Kingsbury Transit Center and the 56 Acre park area.

The immediate service plan also proposes increasing the frequency of buses on Route 50 to every 30 minutes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“Implementing this improvement will show that BlueGO can begin to enhance key transit services, even while reducing overall operating costs,” according to the proposal.

LSC also proposes special Fourth of July service, with six buses operating from 7 p.m. to midnight with a $2 fare for the general public and a $1 fare for the elderly, disabled or youth riders.

After the immediate service plan, LSC proposes more changes to the bus service beginning in September, including expanding service on Route 50 and Route 53, which run from the South Y Transit Station to Kingsbury Transit Center via Highway 50 and from Lake Tahoe Community College to the Kingsbury Transit Center via Bijou area respectively.

Routes 20X and 21X, which run from the Stateline Transit Center to Gardnerville and Carson City respectively, would also be reduced under the proposed service schedule. Route 24X would continue to run from the Kingsbury Transit Center to the Minden/Tahoe Airport on school days as long as the marginal operating costs are fully subsidized.

Routes 52, 54 and 55 are eliminated under the plan. Route 52 runs from the South Y Transit Station to Lake Tahoe Community College via Sierra Tract. Route 54 runs from the South Y Transit Station to Kingsbury Transit Center via Highway 50 and Pioneer Trail. Route 55 runs from the South Y Transit Station to Kelly Ridge.

These reductions in service would be compensated by the expansion of Route 50 and 53 and the OnCall service, according to the report.

LSC also proposes providing New Year’s Eve service with six buses providing express service for five hours on Highway 50.

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