Providing the public with significantly more transit services in the Lake Tahoe/Truckee area moved a step closer to reality on Tuesday when the county Board of Supervisors approved a contract amendment that will fund Tahoe Area Regional Transit’s (TART) year-round bus service along Highway 267.
Efforts to get people out of their private vehicles and onto public transit are a critical part of protecting the delicate environment of the Lake Tahoe Basin and surrounding areas. Reducing the number of cars on the road reduces air pollution, which in the Tahoe Basin, ends up in the lake.
Additionally, increasing regular transit schedules will make it easier for employees to get to their workplace and for visitors to get around to the many attractions available in the North Lake Tahoe area.
In past years, TART provided winter service between Crystal Bay and Truckee, including Northstar. In the summer, the route went only between Crystal Bay and Northstar, and not to Truckee. The Placer County Transportation Planning Agency identified a lack of year-round service as an unmet transit need for the region.
Providing consistent, year-round transit service in the entire resort triangle area between North Lake Tahoe and Truckee has been discussed since at least 2005. This service was identified as an area for improvement in the 2005 TART Systems Plan, the 2013 Eastern Nevada County Transit Development Plan Update and the 2014 Nevada County Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan.
The Board’s actions Tuesday approved amendments to the existing contract between TART and the Town of Truckee for the additional service. The year-round service is included in the proposed TART Budget which will be considered by the supervisors on June 16, 2015. If approved, TART would operate the full year-round schedule for the summer of 2015. The service would then be suspended during the fall to allow for the final budget process for the Town of Truckee to be completed and to allow time for the county to hire and train TART bus drivers for the added level of service.
Funding for the additional service will come from the county, the Town of Truckee and the Tahoe Truckee Airport District.
Increasing routes is part of a larger effort to increase awareness and usage of the only regularly scheduled public transit service in the North Tahoe/Truckee area. With a new logo that’ll be adorning all features of TART: buses, bus stops, and schedules, the visibility of the service is expected to increase.