Daily bus service in Douglas County to begin next month | RecordCourier.com
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Daily bus service in Douglas County to begin next month

by Jeff Munson

Beginning next month, Douglas County residents who commute will have the option of leaving the driving to someone else.

After more than a year of planning, state and local transportation officials are preparing to launch daily bus service in Douglas County with connections that will take passengers to Carson City and Reno.

“It’s something the people have been waiting for a long time,” said Mike Askew, Douglas County transportation coordinator.

While officials are still working out details, Douglas Area Rapid Transit (DART) bus service is set to begin April 23, with a park and ride route that begins in the Topaz Lake area and heads north to the Target center and a regular route that runs solely through Minden and Gardnerville.

Douglas County passengers will be able to connect at Target with Public Rural Ride buses (PRIDE) that will deliver commuters to destinations in Carson City and Reno.

The changes are meant to enhance public transit in Douglas County, Askew said.

“We will continue to provide the same service to seniors and the disabled, while at the same time encouraging others to ride,” he said.

Service will be available Monday through Friday but not on holidays and weekends. Bus fare is tentatively set at a $1 donation for riders 60 years and older and $2 for people ages 59 and younger. Bus rides to Carson City and Reno will cost more, because the connection will be through PRIDE. The first month of service will be free, Askew added.

The park and ride route will begin at 5:45 a.m. at the Topaz Senior Center and will reach the Target center at 7 a.m., with stops at Holbrook Junction, Ruhenstroth, Minden Medical Center and Johnson Lane Park.

Riders can transfer at the Target center to PRIDE buses that run to Carson City and Reno.

The park and ride route will leave Target at 5:40 p.m. and will arrive at the Topaz area around 7:15 p.m.

There will also be a park and ride route that will run through Minden and Gardnerville, beginning at 5:30 a.m. with stops at Lampe Park, Tillman Center in the Ranchos, the Douglas County Social Services Department and Minden Medical Center.

The route schedule for Minden and Gardnerville will begin at 8 a.m. at the senior center, with stops at Raley’s, Carson Valley Medical Center, Blue Rock Park, Tillman Center, Lampe Park and assorted other stops. The route will run throughout the day, with the final stop at 4:15 p.m.

Douglas officials have been planning to add public transportation for several months. Though the senior center provides rides to the center and some medical appointments, operators say they’ve had to scale back some service in the past. The bus services will be available to any resident.

While the DART service offers fixed routes, passengers can call ahead of time for door-to-door, curb-to-curb or park-and-ride services, Askew said.

“We can’t be everything to everybody, but we will do the best we can,” he said.

Funding for the transit system is covered by the Nevada Department of Transportation, which pays for about 80 percent of the costs, followed by federal government transportation grants, which cover the remaining 20 percent, Askew said.