Pittenger is capital’s new people mover | NevadaAppeal.com

Pittenger is capital’s new people mover

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Carson City transportation manager Patrick Pittenger poses at a Jump Around Carson - JAC - bus stop.

Patrick Pittenger works for Carson City as its transportation manager.

“A good part of my job is that I can make a difference, get things done, and feel like I’m helping people,” he said of the position.

Pittenger, 34, was the senior transportation planner for Mesa, Ariz., before working here.

He has worked at several transportation agencies of varying sizes and offerings, but Carson City has allowed him to participate in building a bus system for the first time.

Ridership on the year-old Jump Around Carson, the city’s first fixed-route bus service, has been on the upswing after a slow start.

In August, JAC was used 6,200 times by riders.

“It’s a public service, it’s a social service,” he said. “It’s for people who need it and riders who choose it.”

Now JAC’s bus stops are more clearly indicated, and bus shelters are in the Wal-Mart shopping center and on the Western Nevada Community College campus.

The next steps will be to examine the routes and stops, then create clearer written guides for riders, Pittenger said.

An ongoing awareness campaign will let people know about the service.

This month, Carson City supervisors approved a plan for marketing JAC during the next year at a cost of $70,000.

A plan that allows the bus-service contractor, MV Transportation Inc., to obtain fuel for the same discount price as the city receives for its vehicle fuel should offset the marketing cost.

The fuel savings should exceed $86,000 during the first 12 months, Pittenger said.

JAC costs $1 a ride for adults and youth, and 50 cents for seniors and the disabled.

“Transit service can’t be all things to all people; we can’t fill every niche,” he emphasized. “But our bus system is going in the right direction.”

Although residents have been coming up with a variety of suggestions to help improve the service, massive route changes aren’t coming anytime soon. A request to add bicycle racks to buses could be coming soon, though the city needs to first obtain some new buses.

JAC is far from Pittenger’s only responsibility. He acts as liaison to the Regional Transportation Commission and Carson Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, which make policies, establish priorities ,and recommend appropriate funding for transportation-improvement projects.

Pittenger also ensures that funding comes from the federal government for local transportation needs. This is achieved by monitoring operations to make sure the community is meeting its requirements. He also compiles a variety of reports on travel and traffic conditions.

Pittenger has a bachelor’s degree in geography, with a minor in history. He had planned on a career in teaching social studies, but ended up in transportation because he wanted a job with better pay to support his family. He obtained his master’s degree in transportation planning from Iowa State University.

Pittenger lives in Carson City. He is married and the father of two boys. He originally hails from Sheboygan, Wisc.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.