More stops, service hours on Kingsbury Express

The South Tahoe Area Transit Authority on Friday approved adding stops to BlueGO's Kingsbury Express service and recommended reinstating 24-hour bus service.

The BlueGO Kingsbury Express will stop on upper Kingsbury starting July 6. BlueGO Transit Administrator John Andoh said the extra stop will benefit about 75 people.

Andoh said he has received 35 letters and a petition from upper Kingsbury residents to add an express shuttle stop at Tramway Drive.

Upper Kingsbury resident Dale Apgar works at GE Energy in Minden, so he started the petition and had his co-workers sign on.

"It blows me away when I pass an empty bus when I'm driving home," Apgar said.

Apgar said it makes sense to stop at the top of Kingsbury so more residents can ride the express to Carson Valley, or to their jobs down on the South Shore.

"To me, it's a no-brainer," Apgar said.

The Ridge Tahoe has provided shuttle service for its Carson Valley employees but will discontinue the service so their employees will ride the express to work. From the drop-off, The Ridge will continue its Kingsbury shuttle service.

Another stop at Tillman and Kimmerling roads in Carson Valley will be added to the route.

The extra stops won't change current schedule times, Andoh said. Bus schedules currently are loose, so buses wait to time their routes correctly. With route changes, the buses would move constantly.

After hearing public comments, BlueGO board members also recommended that the South Lake Tahoe City Council change the Americans with Disabilities Act paratransit service to 24-hour bus service. The city funds the service and must approve the recommendation.

In January, overnight service was discontinued to provide ADA paratransit during the day. To date, the service hasn't carried any riders, and it's duplicated through the El Dorado County Special Needs Program, bus service proponents contend.

Barbara Fisher was the only person who spoke during the public hearing.

"Thank you for bringing this out to the county," Fisher said. "Especially with the rising cost of gas."

Fisher lives in Christmas Valley and used to ride the bus, but since 24-hour service stopped, she hasn't been able to ride as much.

Andoh said he has received phone calls, letters and e-mails from community members begging for the return of 24-hour service. Casino workers have told him that they don't want to take taxis to get home at night.

The 24-hour service could begin in September.


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