Carson supervisors consider bus ads

Residents could see a change on Carson City Community Transportation system buses and vans early next year if city supervisors buy into the idea of mobile advertising.

In an attempt to add hours to deal with increased demand, Carson's Public Transit Advisory Committee is recommending selling advertising space on the vehicles.

"It's an opportunity to generate additional revenue for the transit service to provide additional services," Supervisor Kay Bennett said. Transit "is a hot issue here in town. We're trying the very best we can with the resources we have to give the best services we can. Every little step we take takes a bite out of the big problem."

Mary Winkler, executive director of the Ormsby Association of Retarded Citizens, serves on the transit committee and said she sees advertising dollars as a way to help the system provide a higher level of service.

"Transportation is running in a deficit situation, and we were looking for a way to put money into the system," Winkler said.

System General Manager Marc Reynolds said about 60,000 people will use the system this year and the expanded popularity is causing the system some problems.

"There are certain hours in the daytime that don't have availability," Reynolds said. "It's a capacity issue. It's so popular, we can't service everyone."

Reynolds said the system has shuttled about 25,000 people since July. Carson City funds about $240,000 each year of the $384,000 it takes to run the local transit system. The advertising idea is preliminary, and how much money the advertising would generate for the city is unknown, City Finance Director David Heath said.

South Lake Tahoe's bus system, run by Area Transit Management, began putting advertisements on its buses about two years ago. Area Transit's General Manager Ken Daley said the advertisements have brought the company between $5,000 and $6,000 a year in revenue. The company runs eight full-sized buses on four routes and charges $100 per space, per bus. Each bus has five available spaces.

"We're not real aggressive about going out and selling it," Daley said. "But some businesses have gotten back to us and said customers had seen (a company advertisement) on the bus. Two companies have been on there since day one."

Carson's transit system uses 15-passenger vans and paratransit vans for the disabled and operates on a dial-a-ride availability Reynolds said the committee is also considering changing the transit logo so more Carson residents would know the system is available.

If supervisors agree to the idea Thursday, the city will work out a contract and find someone to administer the market and place the advertisements.

Supervisors will also consider:

- A final agreement with the Nevada Department of Transportation for funding of city drainage improvements that will benefit the Carson City freeway. The agreement would allow the city to construct a significant portion of its planned drainage system during freeway construction.

- An ordinance change which would allow more seniors to apply for a sewer system rebate by raising income limits for eligibility to the program.

If you go:

What: Carson City Board of Supervisors Meeting

When: Thursday, 8:30 a.m.

Where: Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.


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