Bus service may include Wal-Mart | NevadaAppeal.com

Bus service may include Wal-Mart

jill lufrano

For Dee, a volunteer at the Carson City Senior Center, Wal-Mart’s move to Douglas County last year meant she couldn’t shop there anymore. When Kmart left town this year, her choices got even slimmer.

It’s not that she doesn’t want to shop at new stores across the border, but because of her age and her reluctance to mix in heavy traffic, she doesn’t drive Highway 395 outside of Carson City.

“I would love to be able to go out there and shop,” Dee said. “I know a lot of people that would. I know a lot of people that don’t drive, and a lot of them take Carson City transportation to go shopping.”

Dee, who asked her last name not be used, is one of several area residents who would like to see public transportation available from Carson City to new stores and shopping areas recently opened in northern Douglas County.

Since the new Wal-Mart Supercenter opened last year, agencies that operate PRIDE bus service from Reno to Carson City have been inundated with calls from residents who want bus service extended.

Action is now being considered by Douglas County, Carson City and the Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission to pay to extend the route by the beginning of December.

“Wal-Mart is a logical draw,” said David Jickling, director of public transportation for the Washoe County transportation agency. The former store in Carson was where the bus was designed to stop when bus service first started three years ago.

Currently, Washoe County and Carson City transportation organizations pay to run PRIDE from Reno to Carson City and back from Monday through Friday. Weekend service was recently cut to reduce costs.

Because Wal-Mart is located a few miles south in Douglas County, a new agreement needed to be made with Douglas officials who would have to pick up some of the costs.

The arrangement fits into a plan already being considered by PRIDE operating agencies. The current route ends at the old Wal-Mart site at Clearview Drive and Carson Street. The stop acts as a layover point, where bus drivers can get out to stretch their legs and for the bus to readjust its timing to get back on track. The time at the stop was running about 30 minutes, which was not cost effective, Jickling said.

“We had been looking at a way to make that bus do something more to serve those people,” Jickling said.

Changes to the route will include eliminating the bus stops on Koontz Lane, Silver Sage, Clearview and the stop at the old Wal-Mart site. In the future, stops might be put along Carson Street near the old stops, but the idea will be to keep the bus on Carson Street.

In the new plans, a stop would be made at Costco and Fuji Park in Carson City, Jickling said.

Douglas County commissioners approved paying $6,198 in contingency funds Thursday to pay a portion of the cost to run bus service past Carson City. The Carson Area Metropolitan Planning Organization will pick up the additional $6,198 in federal funds. Carson City’s cost to run PRIDE service would decrease from $54,750 to $48,552 per year.

“Staff for all three jurisdictions is optimistic it will be approved by the boards,” Jickling said.

Douglas County will consider the agreement Nov. 20, Carson Area MPO will consider it at its meeting Wednesday and Washoe County RTC will consider it Nov. 21.

New service to Wal-Mart might start as soon as Dec. 1 or Dec. 8, if all agreements are approved. The first bus would leave Wal-Mart at 6:26 a.m. to pick up commuters, Jickling said.

The bus stops in Carson would include nine stops between 5:50 a.m. and 8:10 p.m. at U.S. 395 and College Parkway, Nevada Department of Transportation on Stewart Street, and a stop at Carson Street and Clearview. The last bus to leave Wal-Mart to head back to Carson would be 7:47 p.m.

Bus times are mainly tailored to commuter schedules.

A new bus route and schedule will be posted on the Internet following approvals by PRIDE agencies at: http://www.NVPride.com. Riders can also call 1-866-NVPRIDE for information.