Buses must go where people will ride
Bus service needs to go where the people want to go, and right now that’s into northern Douglas County.
Officials in Washoe, Carson City and Douglas should be approving new routes that take the PRIDE buses to Wal-Mart beginning by December. The question isn’t whether the new route is a good move, but why it took so long.
Wal-Mart moved out of Carson City almost 15 months ago, so the bus stop at its parking lot hasn’t made much sense since then. If the government-subsidized bus service is to be a success, it’s got to adapt to changes a lot faster than that.
And we certainly want it to succeed.
Public transportation in Northern Nevada is spotty at best, absent at worst. PRIDE is providing a crucial link between Reno and Carson City, but there is so much more that can be done.
We’re not just talking about additional service and routes. Ridership has to justify those kinds of expenses, and public transportation can be a black hole for taxpayer dollars.
But it also is a viable, adaptable and relatively low-capital answer to transportation needs.
The most obvious examples lie right along the route being planned down Carson Street to Wal-Mart and, eventually, beyond to the stores in Carson Valley Plaza.
How long have Carson City residents waited for a freeway to ease congestion along that route? More than 20 years. How much is that freeway going to cost? More than $260 million. When will it be done? Maybe by 2010.
Taking a few months to move a bus stop doesn’t seem so long by comparison, does it?
Also, we see that while the freeway was being designed over the past decade or so, a load of traffic moved just south of it – to the new shopping centers in northern Douglas County. There’s a whole new bottleneck.
Riding the bus is a habit that must be developed over time. Encouraging people to adopt the habit is something that can be done now.