Study planned of public transit system |

Study planned of public transit system

The region’s financially troubled public transportation system has encountered yet another stumbling block. Because of a decrease in services, Gold Country Telecare can no longer afford to maintain buses and cover its routine operation costs, Executive Director Don Martin told the county’s Transit Services Commission this week.

Martin said the bus service, which provides rides for disabled Nevada County residents, will need to be paid $40.69 an hour by the county instead of its current rate of $32.83, an increase of about 25 percent.

In response, the commissioners decided to confer with county and Telecare officials to address the service’s financial troubles and report back to the full commission in July.

Both Gold Country Stage and Telecare have been struggling to keep afloat in recent years. Funding shortages led the bus service to cut routes and increase fares last September, and Telecare had to stop serving elderly residents who are not disabled.

Recognizing the problem, the commission plans to conduct a $40,000 study of the county’s public transportation system next year, Nevada County Transportation Commission Executive Director Dan Landon said.

Telecare also recently announced a plan to reprimand customers who repeatedly cancel or fail to show up for rides. Transit Services Director Bill Derrick said no-shows waste fuel and bus drivers’ time.

But Telecare did receive one bit of positive news this week – the commission granted Telecare $20,000, which the nonprofit organization will be able to match with federal money and purchase two accessible vans.

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