Buses for citywide public transit system set to roll out in October

Carson City residents who've been holding onto their clunkers while waiting for buses to roll out on the first citywide public transit system have about five months to wait.

"We're still planning to implement a fixed-route component of the transit service on Oct. 1," said city transit/transportation planner Michael Dulude.

The $1 million four-route system includes a downtown transfer station from which three buses will depart, then loop through the north part of town. One bus will travel south as far as the Douglas County Topsy Lane shopping center.

"Bus stops will be picked later this month or next month," he said Thursday.

The transit planner expects the 30-mile system will have about five stops every mile, for about 150 bus stops total.

But where those stops will go exactly is Dulude's special project. He'll contact residents along the route by phone, letter or face-to-face to find out where neighbors want the stop. Residential areas will get careful consideration. The busier arterials will have fewer stops because of traffic conditions and lack of pedestrian access.

"For instance, 395 South, as we come into and out of the Carson Valley shopping area, there won't be any bus stops down there because of traffic. It's a high-speed roadway and there is a lack of pedestrian access."

The new system will use four 14-passenger vehicles used by the Carson City Community Transit dial-a-ride system. The transfer point will be on the east side of Plaza Street between Robinson and Washington streets, beside the federal building.

It will have passenger shelters and benches. If all goes as planned, Dulude said it could expand to 30-foot buses.

Buses will operate on the weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fares will be $1 one-way for the general public and 50 cents for seniors and the disabled. The new routes could have an annual ridership of 200,000 to 400,000.

Paratransit fares would be $2 for those who are eligible for disability benefits, and $2.50 otherwise.

Two other buses will be used for dial-a-ride, which will be kept in service for disabled and elderly riders.

Carson City's dial-a-ride contract with MV Transportation expires on June 30, but that will be extended for three months. Requests for contract proposals for the new transit service will go out in the next 30 days,

Staff will select the lowest bidder for approval by the transit board and the Carson City Board of Supervisors.

Based in Fairfield, California, MV Transportation is the nation's largest privately held transportation management firm. The company operates more than 140 contracts to provide transit service in 23 states, and employs more than 8,000 professionals, according to the company's Web site.

Nikki Frenney, MV Transportation spokeswoman, said her company will respond to the city's bid request.

"We are already in the community," she said. "We already have a great relationship with the transit authority in that area and we wouldn't pass up an opportunity to expand there."

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.


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