County procures two new buses
Nevada County unveiled one of its new buses for a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.
Two 27-passenger buses were recently added to the 15-vehicle transit fleet through a $415,000 federal grant. The diesel buses are expected to begin routes to Auburn and between Grass Valley and Nevada city by mid-June, said Bill Derrick, Nevada County Transit Services Manager.
Michael Hill-Weld, Director of Transportation and Sanitation, said the “more urban-style” buses will help residents who use public transportation to “interface” with Amtrak routes, in addition to increasing the number of routes offered weekly and daily, especially to North San Juan and Colfax.
Ridership on buses has increased approximately 15 percent during the past year, Derrick said, telling supervisors “gas prices are a factor” in the spike in riders, which has climbed to 280,000 annual trips. Residents with cars still opt generally not to take public transportation, Derrick said, adding, “It’s a big untapped market.”
Supervisors also discussed bicycling at Tuesday’s meeting.
Dan Landon, director of the Nevada County Transportation Commission, said outside of the meeting that the county is waiting to see if it receives an $84,500 grant from the state department of Business, Transportation and Housing.
At a January workshop, many residents expressed a desire for additional bike lanes and paved shoulders on area roads, Landon said, adding the “lack of facilities” makes it difficult to make use of the nonpolluting form of transportation that has health benefits and energy savings.
Landon said he was unsure if previous efforts to paint bicycle lane lines increased the number of people who cycled or improved the experience for existing riders.
John Rumsey, an engineer with DOTS, said at Tuesday’s meeting that “steep grades” and “inclement weather” make the region a difficult one to ride a bike to work in. Additional funding for bike facilities would help to improve it, Rumsey said after the meeting.
To reach staff writer josh Singer, e-mail joshs@theunion .com or call 477-4234.
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