The idea of riding a bus from Reno and Carson City to the new stop at Wal-Mart in Douglas County was catching on Tuesday during the second day of service along the route.
"It's really been busy," said driver Deanie Jones.
While the parking lot of the super center was crammed with parked cars and people shopping for the holiday, the warm bus shuttled at least 10 to 15 riders to the Topsy Lane stop, Jones said.
Brian Henderson, 32, of Carson City said he was surprised to find out he could ride the bus from downtown Reno, after arriving at the airport, nearly all the way to the Sunridge subdivision where he lives. He will use it often when he travels twice a month, he said.
"It's great," Henderson said, "I imagine a lot of Wal-Mart people will use it."
PRIDE bus service has undergone a few changes this year. After cutting weekend service to save money, officials in Carson, Douglas County and Washoe County decided to extend the route to include the new shopping area.
The extended service began Monday, but few riders took advantage of the change.
"With a service of this nature, we did not expect all of a sudden there to be 10s or 20s of people on the first day of riding," said Dave Jickling, director of public transportation for the Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission.
The hours of operation are tailored for commuters who need to travel between Douglas County and Reno. The bus begins at Meadowood Mall in Reno at 5:20 a.m. and first departs the Wal-Mart in Douglas County at 6:25 a.m. It departs four times in the morning and five times in the afternoon.
Bus service is not available between 9:20 a.m. and 3:55 p.m. at the Wal-Mart stop, and the last bus to take riders back into Carson or Reno leaves at 7:49 p.m.
"This is focused on commuters," Jickling said. "If they're just going to shop, right now with the hours of service, that's not advantageous."
Transportation officials plan to talk about operating more frequently through Carson City after the next fiscal year, Jickling said. Now, about 175 passengers ride the bus between Carson and Reno every day.
"We hope to attract more riders with that little spurt to Douglas County," Jickling said.
For Reno-resident Sherry Shipley, more stops during the day would help. Recently laid off from her state job and lacking a car, Shipley rode the bus into Carson this week for interviews. She takes the bus into Carson in the morning and waits all day for the evening ride home, she said.
"I have three interviews this week," Shipley said. "That means I have to spend all day."
One-way fare on PRIDE costs $3 for adult, $1.50 for seniors age 60 and over and disabled passengers. Children ages 6 to 12 pay $2 for one-way, and younger than 5 are free.
For information and schedule times, call 866-NV-PRIDE or visit www.866nvpride.com.
Contact Jill Lufrano at 881-1217 or firstname.lastname@example.org