Placer County moves forward plans to bring on-demand transit to Tahoe mountain resorts

Published on August 28, 2018

In an effort to reduce traffic congestion in and out of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski resorts, business leaders there have agreed to impose a 1% assessment fee on lodging and day-use ski tickets in order to fund the cost of “micro transit,” an on-demand shuttle service.

Today the Placer County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the formation of the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Micro Mass Transit District, which paves the way for the assessment to be levied and collected by the county. The unanimous vote came after resort business owners submitted a petition in favor of forming the district and imposing the assessment on lodging and ski resort tickets. Business owners, representing 62.5% of the total annual assessed value, came out in favor of the new assessment district, while only one single protest was received prior to the public hearing.

The new transit service will operate like other ride sharing services by enabling customers to use a smartphone app to reserve a trip. Neighborhood-friendly shuttles will pick up and drop off resort visitors at their preferred locations as long as they are near the main shuttle routes that feed both resorts.

Funding for the service will come from a 1% fee assessment on gross lodging receipts and day use lift tickets from both the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski resorts. The assessment will begin on October 1, 2018, and the micro transit service is slated to begin this winter. The fee is expected to generate approximately $715,000 annually to cover administrative and operation costs.

Resort business owners hope the new ride sharing transit service will help alleviate traffic congestion in and out of the resorts, as well as reduce the demand for parking. The hope is this new transportation feature will make Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows more competitive with other mountain resort destinations.

The effort to establish on-demand transit in Olympic Valley came after the completion of two short term pilots that proved successful during the 2017 holiday season and the World Cup Ski Races last spring. The micro transit service will also connect to Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit.

The district will operate for a five-year term with an option to extend for another 10 years. The county will be tasked with collecting the fees and forwarding them to the district, which is responsible for operating the program.