Nine new buses join Tahoe Transportation District fleet |

Nine new buses join Tahoe Transportation District fleet

Staff Reports
The BlueGo bus stops at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden on Thursday.
Kurt Hildebrand |

Within the last year, Tahoe Transportation District has invested in a new scheduling system, nine new buses, lighting, and technology to provide safer and more reliable transit. This is a direct result of feedback from the community.

On March 7, the district launched Ecolane, a new scheduling system for demand response service that provides transportation for individuals with disabilities and adults 60 years of age and older.

Passengers using this service make a reservation and the new system will help to coordinate trips. Dispatchers will be asking additional questions when taking reservations to customize individual trips from arranged origin to set destination. Fare for eligible passengers (persons over 60 years of age; veterans with a “service-connected disability;” and persons with disabilities under the guidelines established by the Americans with Disabilities Act) is $3 one-way.

The addition of Ecolane adds to a list of other district improvements and additions within the last year. The district has purchased nine new buses equipped with electronic fareboxes, five security cameras, two-position bike racks, and two-way radios that currently service Carson Valley and South Lake Tahoe. The buses include five of the 2015 El Dorado National AeroElite (28 passenger or 24 with two mobility devices) and four 2015 El Dorado AeroTech buses (16 passenger or 12 with two mobility devices). The new vehicles replace 20 percent of the existing fleet allowing for the retirement of older and higher maintenance vehicles.

“We’ve listened to our passengers and implemented improvements that are important to them,” said district Transit System Program Manager George Fink. “This is the beginning of many enhancements that are in the works as TTD continues to improve transit services.”

At the Unmet Transit Needs Hearing on Sept. 30, 2015, the community requested that schedules be posted at bus stops. As a result, 36 schedule holders were installed in January at all timed stops in the system. The holders illustrate the stop location relative to the greater system and help passengers orient themselves within the region. This will prevent unintentional wait times and passengers boarding incorrect buses.

Two of the local routes operate after midnight and passengers expressed concerns about shelter lighting. In response, TTD contracted with Tolar Manufacturing Company Inc. to provide and install solar lighting units for the bus shelters to improve safety and security. Installations began in late January and will continue through March.

With a recent study indicating that over 70 percent of the particulates impacting Lake Tahoe’s famed water clarity originate from the transportation system and land development, reducing vehicle emissions that pollute the air and fuel algae growth in the Lake is key to the region.

“The goal is to reduce the number of cars on our roads in the Tahoe Basin,” said Tahoe Transportation District Manager Carl Hasty. “To do so, it is essential to the economic and environmental health of the Lake Tahoe region to provide our riders with safe, efficient, dependable, affordable, and easy to use transportation that connects throughout our communities.”

The transit improvements were made possible by funding by TTD’s partners at the Federal Transit Administration, Caltrans, the Nevada Department of Transportation and CalOES.