Expanded Public Transit in the Works for North Lake Tahoe

Published on April 20, 2016

TAHOE CITY, Calif. -- Minimizing the amount of miles traveled in cars helps preserve the environment and saves drivers time and money. Adding on to numerous, significant improvements to Tahoe Area Regional Transit services over the last decade, the Placer County Board of Supervisors April 19 approved the 2016 Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit Systems Plan, which outlines expanded services aimed at reaching the goal of a world-class transit system.

The purpose of the 2016 TART Systems Plan update is to replace the previous plan from 2005 as a planning tool, to ensure the significant growth in investment by Placer County in the North Lake Tahoe region’s transit system is taken into consideration in capital and operational planning decisions.

The plan also formalizes many of the recommendations from local government partners, transit advocacy groups and business leaders who hope to develop a world-class transit system for residents and visitors while minimizing the transportation effects of development projects in the region.

“We are finding more and more people are looking at transit services as a way of making up for some of those impacts,” said director of public works Ken Grehm. “So this study provides a method to show people how they can participate to help mitigate some of their impacts.”

Fully implemented, the TART Systems Plan update will cost $8.7 million over five years, including operational and capital costs.

Two different models for updates to the TART System Plan have been drafted, dependent on funding.

The financially-constrained plan upgrades would include:

  • Increased overall services by 67 percent
  • Increased number of buses in operation from 10 to 13
  • Expansion of dispatch and mechanic staff
  • Construction of four new bus shelters
  • Improvement of Crystal Bay bus stop facilities

The financially-unconstrained plan upgrades would include:

  • Elimination of all transit fares
  • Extension of winter and summer 30-minute daytime service north of Squaw Valley and Northstar to Truckee
  • Extension of year-round night service to Truckee
  • Expansion of fleet by two buses

Funding for the increases in service could potentially come from increased Federal Transit Administration funds, potential transportation sales tax funds, sustained Transient occupancy tax funding and contributions from land development.

“Our plan will enhance transit service, particularly through increased service frequency and expanded night service,” said  Gordon Shaw, principal of LSC Transportation Consultants, a consultant to the county on the plan. “These are the two big things riders want to see.”

Placer County staff continues to work with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to incorporate the TART Systems Plan Update into a long-range transit plan for the entire Tahoe basin.