Bus service to Reno starts with free rides

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The state's first attempt at a transit system between Carson City and Reno will begin with free rides Aug. 14.

Passengers will ride free from Carson City to Reno the first week or two of the service while kinks are worked out of the system, said Sandi Stanio, state transit planner.

"Hopefully people will still ride when they have to pay," she said.

The bus will run Monday through Friday and is aimed at drawing people tired of the daily commute as well as allowing area residents access to health care, shopping, recreation and employment opportunities in urban areas.

"We're excited," Stanio said. "We know it will take time to build the service and to gain people's confidence that they'll get to work on time and be able to make their connections."

A one-way ticket on Public Rural Ride, or PRIDE as the system will be called, will cost $3 for the general public, $1.50 for seniors and the disabled, and $2 for youth under 18, Stanio said.

Buses leave from the Carson City Wal-Mart at 5:30 a.m. and then from Kmart on the north end of town by 5:45 a.m., arriving at Meadowood Mall in Reno at 6:23 a.m. and the National Bowling Stadium near the Washoe County Citifare transfer station at 6:38 a.m.

Buses leave Reno as early as 4:50 a.m., stopping at Meadowood Mall at 5:04 a.m. and arriving in Carson City by 5:37 a.m.

Buses leave almost hourly from Carson City to Reno between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. They leave again at 11:30 a.m. and noon, and hourly from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

All riders will be able to transfer to Washoe County's Citifare system at no cost. Rides on Citifare generally cost $1.25 per ride. Stanio said Carson City Community Transportation will provide a free PRIDE connector for door to bus stop service in Carson City.

Stanio said people will have to call the community transportation office 24-hours in advance at 887-2323 for a ride. Riders who plan on riding at the same time daily may call for a subscription service to be picked up daily.

Stanio said while Aug. 14 is the first official day of operation, a grand opening and ribbon cutting with Gov. Kenny Guinn will be Aug. 18 at the turnout on Stewart Street in front of the State Senate Building. Besides offering cake to anyone who shows up, Stanio said people would be on hand to answer any questions about riding the PRIDE bus.

Planning for the first leg of the state's rural transit program has been under way since April 1999 when the state received $840,000 in federal money to be used over two years as part of a federal welfare to work program.

The bus service will be run by Frontier Tours, which has four, handicap-accessible buses for the route.

The Washoe County Regional Transportation joined NDOT and Carson City to fund and administer the program. Washoe County helped with $100,000.

"We've had quite a few calls on a pretty regular basis about the service," said Nancy Pearl, Washoe County RTC marketing director. "I think it's going to be used. We love this partnership with the state that allows us to put a service on the streets that is so obviously needed."

Douglas County pulled out of a deal to let Washoe County administer the transit extension south of Carson City. Stanio said the Douglas County connection is on hold for now.

"I'd like to have them on line before winter hits," Stanio said.

Stanio said the state plans to have bids ready in 90 days for the other portions of the PRIDE route along both Interstate 80 and Highway 50.

The state will run the Highway 50 corridor program, which will connect Virginia City and Lyon County from Silver Springs to Dayton to Carson City, and the I-80 corridor program, which will connect Lovelock and Fernley to Reno.

For questions regarding the Public Rural Ride transit service between Carson City and Reno, call the Washoe County Regional Transportation Office at 348-0400


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