Shuttle service eyed between V&T depot and downtown
In an effort to lure more visitors to the capital city to spend the night and drop tourist dollars, officials are looking into providing a shuttle service between Carson City’s downtown and the V&T’s Eastgate Depot.
“We discussed this briefly at our last RTC meeting, but right now we’re just doing our due diligence,” said Shelly Aldean, chairwoman of the Regional Transportation Commission and a city supervisor.
“Everyone agrees it would be a good thing for Carson City and make the V&T more relevant to our lodging properties. There is a need here, but we still don’t know where funding would come from,” she said.
Carson City Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Executive Director Candy Duncan said a shuttle would be a big plus in the bureau’s marketing efforts.
“It would be a wonderful addition for our visitors. There’s always some confusion for them trying to find the depot, so to know they would be picked up at their hotels would be great,” she said.
The bonus also would translate into a competitive edge over Reno in attracting overnight stays, Duncan said.
One big initial hurdle, Aldean said, is that municipalities cannot compete with the private sector, so the city is required to send out Requests for Proposals to private carriers which might be interested in operating the service.
“Interest might be limited because the train only runs three days a week for a finite time period each year, but we have to eliminate any conflict before going forward,” she said.
Ken Smithson, transit coordinator for the city’s transportation department, said requests for proposals were sent out, as required, to 52 operators all over the country.
“The closing date was Wednesday, and no one responded,” Smithson said.
Aldean said that if the project turns out to be feasible, she’d ideally like to see something like a rubber-tired trolley for the shuttle, but meanwhile, the city might be able to use an extra public transportation bus from the Jump Around Carson system.
“We’re first going to have to verify the need (for a shuttle), and we could try a JAC bus with a distinct banner on the sides, run it for a season, and if the response is good, then we’d have to figure out the funding,” she said. “It will probably have to be subsidized.”
The issue likely will be discussed at the next RTC meeting scheduled for Nov. 9.