Returned bus routes well-used |

Returned bus routes well-used

Gold Country Stage has expanded its bus schedule, with early reports indicating the new routes are well-used.

Running the Grass Valley-Nevada City route until 10 p.m., up from the previous time of 6:30 p.m., was one of the major changes to the bus line starting Sept. 2.

“That’s picking up 20 to 30 passengers,” said Bill Derrick, transit services manager for Gold Country Stage, of the new and later line. Gas prices, road conditions and traffic could all be contributing to increased bus use, Derrick said, but added that precise statistics are not yet available.

“We did see a rise over last year because of higher gas prices,” Derrick said of ridership on existing routes. Gold Country Stage use increased by more than 15 percent in fiscal year 2005/06, carrying just under 284,000 passengers for the year.

In addition to the expanded Grass Valley-Nevada City line (Route 1) which stops at Sierra College after 6 p.m., there are also services now every weekday to North San Juan and Colfax, instead of once per week. Derrick hopes “word of mouth” will help drive numbers higher for these routes, saying figures are currently comparable to Route 1’s evening use.

These three routes started in 1999 and have returned after being cut in 2003 due to flat-lining revenue, Derrick said. “We’re putting back something we had,” he added.

Gold Country Stage receives funding largely from state sales tax revenue. Nevada County, Grass Valley and Nevada City also contribute.

For more information or a free riders’ guide, call Gold Country Stage at 477-0103 or visit its Web site:

To reach Staff Writer Josh Singer e-mail or call 477-4234.

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