Sunday service for buses examined |

Sunday service for buses examined

Gold Country Stage, western Nevada County’s public bus system, may start offering bus service on Sunday if sufficient revenue is available to fund the expansion.

The Nevada County Transportation Commission was poised to vote on that Wednesday, but postponed action until its June 19 meeting so staff can crunch numbers and make sure there’s enough funding.

“Concern was expressed today as (to) whether or not there was sufficient money to do this Sunday service and maintain it over the years,” said Dan Landon, the commission’s executive director.

Commissioners don’t want to be in a position where “you build it and they come, and then you tell them they can’t have it anymore. That’s no fun,” Landon said.

It would cost about $160,000 – mostly from a quarter-cent of the sales tax – to establish Sunday service for routes 1 through 7 and route 10, said a report prepared by the commission with help from consultants.

“Indeed, 36.3 percent of respondents to a recent on-board passenger survey indicated that Sunday service is the single most important improvement Gold Country Stage could implement,” the study said.

The needs assessment process analyzed 28 proposed new or expanded bus service proposals, including adding an Alta Sierra route.

Out of those 28 proposals, only establishing Sunday service made the cut once officials considered such things as additional ridership and fare revenue, Landon said.

Public transit advocate Paul Mucci still thinks service could be expanded.

“They’ve got unlimited amounts of money for the automobile,” said Mucci. He also said the county plans to spend millions on road widening and other projects.

The commission appointed Mucci Wednesday to its advisory committee.

“I think it was a good move to bring him into the process and see some of the constraints we work under,” Landon said.

Mucci, who has structured his life so he doesn’t need an automobile, said he’s “going to use this as a bully pulpit.”

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