It’s no secret that the North Tahoe – Truckee region has been woefully lacking in public transportation. While our economy is driven by tourism, visitors experience restrictions on how to get around once they’ve arrived. Worse still is the plight of local residents or seasonal employees who do not have reliable personal vehicles.
In fact, this challenge has been repeatedly brought to the forefront and passed unresolved for years. Until now, thanks to the persistent efforts of Jaime Wright, Executive Director of Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association (TNT/TMA), and key stakeholders within the region.
Starting this month, TART (Tahoe Area Regional Transit) and the Truckee Transit become a single unified brand under TART (Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit). This process began in June 2014, when a group of community stakeholders and representatives met to discuss the status of the transit systems and plans for the future.
Alison Schwedner, Director of the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee- a program of Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, commended this accomplishment, “Transportation has been a significant barrier for children, families and seniors accessing critical medical services and it’s rewarding to see the advocacy efforts of CCTT partners and stakeholders result in this landmark advancement in services.”
The unified branding introduces new transportation services for visitors and residents to overcome what has been identified as an unmet need since 2005. Previously it could take an entire day, and perhaps missing work or school, to travel from Kings Beach to Truckee via Tahoe City for a ten minute doctor’s appointment. An employee who missed their bus would be standing in the cold with an outturned thumb.
Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Placer County, North Lake Tahoe Resort Associations, Town of Truckee, Transportation, Transportation Management Association and the Truckee Tahoe Airport, beginning December 14, 2015, year-round transportation connecting Truckee, Northstar, Kings Beach and Crystal Bay via Hwy 267 will make accessing health care and dental appointments, as well as employment options, easier.
TART’s hourly daytime service also offers routes between Tahoma to Incline Village as well as Truckee, Squaw Valley and Tahoe City. The North Tahoe Free Ski shuttle returns this year with morning and afternoon express routes along Tahoe’s North and West Shores to: Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, and Homewood Mountain Resort on weekends and holiday weeks December 18,. 2015 – March 27, 2016. The free Night Rider service will offer service to Crystal Bay, Squaw Valley, Tahoe City, Tahoma, and Northstar from December 14, 2015 – April 3, 2016.
The North Tahoe/Truckee Transport program provides accessible, shared ride, curb to curb transportation for elderly residents. These clients can access medical/dental appointments, educational venues, governmental services, enrichment programs, volunteer opportunities, and other requested destinations. Monthly out of area trips are provided to Auburn, Roseville, Sacramento, Nevada City, Grass Valley, and Reno.
In a mountain community with extreme weather conditions, the question of transportation is not about luxury, but availability and reliability. These solutions increase our quality of life and economic vitality.