Carsonites, meet JAC – again
Appeal Staff Writer
Ridership is starting to grow on Carson City’s first fixed-route bus service, Jump Around Carson, since the service was introduced in October. City officials, however, would like to see the service better positioned and publicized.
Members of the Regional Transportation Commission are being asked to pay for a re-introduction of JAC during their meeting today. Cost for a program to increase awareness and interest in the service would cost a minimum of $64,250. Added marketing efforts could result in a public relations program that costs more than $127,000.
Transportation staff “felt we were a little premature in getting JAC up and running,” said supervisor Richard Staub, also chairman of the RTC.
Bus stops were not all up when the route began running. There were no benches or shelter provided at the stops.
“Some people have heard of JAC, others haven’t,” said Supervisor Shelly Aldean, who also sits on the RTC. “Some of our marketing materials, especially the route map, are hard to understand.”
Now stops are more clearly indicated. And shelters can be found in the Wal-Mart shopping center and on the Western Nevada Community College campus, where students and other North Carson residents can buy tickets and passes instead of going to City Hall or the JAC office at 3303 Butti Way, said Patrick Pittenger, transportation manager.
This is why the city might offer the service for free again for a while, among other ideas, to further boost ridership.
And “we’ll continue to make improvements,” he said. “We’ll continue to make JAC as convenient and useful to use as possible.”
Macwest Marketing conducted interviews with riders and drivers and found out that more stops are needed, and that information should also be available in Spanish.
It costs $1 a ride for adults and youth, and 50 cents for seniors and the disabled.
Use peaked in June, when more than 5,500 people rode JAC. The number of riders during October 2005, a period when riders weren’t charged for the service, was roughly 4,100, according to statistics kept by city public works.
Bus systems hardly ever turn a profit. Chicago’s system runs at only 50 percent profit, Pittenger said.
It is a service that people need, like public libraries, he said. And it’s important that people know it’s available.
“It’s for the common good.”
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.
If you go
WHAT: Regional Transportation Commission meeting
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. today
WHERE: Sierra Room, Community Center, 851 E. William St.