Take the JAC

Scheduled to start rolling on Oct. 3, Carson City's fledgling transit program now has a name - JAC - along with a logo and an operator.

City supervisors this week awarded a contract to operate the fixed-route bus system to the Fairfield, Calif., company MV Transportation, which already runs Carson City's dial-a-ride service.

The company's bid, the lowest among three, came in at slightly more than $600,000, which is 60 percent less than transportation officials had expected, and budgeted for - although that rate was agreed on before gas prices began to skyrocket in response to destruction and chaos raging in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The first bus is scheduled to begin service from the main transfer point, in front of the federal building on Carson Street, at 6:30 a.m. Oct. 3.

The city will survey several gas stations once a month and pay MV Transportation the difference between actual gas prices and prices at the time the contract was made: $2.72 per gallon for unleaded and $3.10 for diesel.

Dulude said a gas price increase of 50 cents a gallon, lasting for the entire year, would result in extra payments of about $25,000. According to that estimate, the new bus system will cost less to operate than city officials had thought, even if gas prices soar past $10 a gallon.

The savings will be kept in the transit fund for maintenance and repair of buses as well as more and possibly bigger buses if ridership dictates a more robust system.

Dulude also announced the system will be called JAC, standing for Jump Around Carson, for service in Carson proper, and Jump Around the Counties for routes that stretch outside the city.

A color scheme of green, blue, white and silver will decorate the buses, with a jackrabbit logo.

"It signifies the efficiency of jumping from one point to another easily," Dulude said.

The color scheme and design of the four buses dedicated to the fixed-route system will vary from two buses to be used solely for the dial-a-ride program, which the city is scaling back, restricting service to the elderly and disabled who need it most.

Dulude said transportation officials chose the bright colors because "we wanted to have something that looked different on the street that could be easily identified and brightly colored to attract attention."

Of the four routes, two will loop around the densest part of North Carson while one will extend all the way to the northern boundary. The fourth will shoot south to Topsy Lane in Douglas County. Transit officials plan about five stops per mile on the 30-mile system.

n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at cmcconnell@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.


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