Scheduled to begin Monday, the capital city's first fixed-route bus system will be free to riders in October, the city's transit planner said Tuesday.
"We're letting people experience it without having to pay money," said Michael Dulude, Carson City transit planner. "So they can understand it without too much risk to themselves."
He said the bus routes for Jump Around Carson City - or JAC - are refined and stops have been selected.
The four 14-passenger buses will depart the downtown main transfer station at 6:30 a.m. The main transfer station is beside the federal building between Washington and Robinson streets. The green, blue, white and silver buses run on an hourly schedule.
Route 1 brings riders up to the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Campus. Route 2a loops clockwise in Carson City. Route 2b will loop counterclockwise. Route 3 travels to the Topsy Lane shopping center in Douglas County.
Anne Macquarie, the Carson City woman who founded the bike and trails group Muscle Powered, said she'll ride JAC. She plans to walk or bike wherever she needs to go in October, or use public transportation.
Macquarie, an urban planner for a consulting firm in Reno, has many reasons for her month-long car fast, such as raising oil prices and environmental concerns.
"I thought Carson City starting a bus system is the last piece of the puzzle to being a town you might be able to get around in without a car," she said.
Detailed route maps will be made public by the end of the week. Schedule pamphlets should be ready by next week.
"Every place where there is a change in direction and/or two-tenths of a mile there will be a bus stop in that location," Dulude said. "Sometimes we had to go a little short or long on the two-tenths of a mile because we didn't want to have a stop in front of someone's front door."
The blue and white signs marking bus stops are 18 by 24 inches and have the JAC logo with a stylized rabbit. The route number or numbers will be printed under the jackrabbit.
City supervisors awarded the operational contract to MV Transportation, of Fairfield, Calif., which had run Carson City's dial-a-ride service. Its bid was about $600,000, less than the $1 million city officials had expected the service to cost.
Buses will operate from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The fares will be $1 one-way for the general public and 50 cents for seniors and the disabled after October. 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.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.
If You Go
What: Jump Around Carson opening ceremony
When: 10 a.m. Monday
Where: JAC main transfer station beside the federal building, 705 N. Plaza St.
Some featured speakers:
Mayor Marv Teixeira
Supervisor Shelly Aldean
Larry Osborne, Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer