Between Reno and North Lake Tahoe

From Truckee to Reno, [Caltrans] typically see[s] an average of 32,000 vehicles per day. Obviously, this number increases during holidays.

~ Raquel Borrayo, District 3 public information officer, Caltrans

In Nevada, the interstate corridor sees between 35,000 and 110,000 vehicles each day. Near downtown Reno, the interstate is traveled by more than 110,000 vehicles every day, with traffic dropping to just above 30,000 vehicles daily near the state line. In the past 10 years, traffic on the Nevada section of I-80 just west of Reno has jumped by roughly one fourth.

~ Meg Ragonese, public information officer, Nevada Department of Transportation

A commuter route between Reno and North Lake Tahoe has been studied. I believe that Washoe [Regional Transportation Commission] RTC contracted with MV Transportation to pilot a route linking Reno and Incline Village via Mount Rose (NV 431). The pilot operated one summer; the ridership was too low and the wear and tear on the buses too high to continue the service. Washoe RTC has expressed interest occasionally, but to my  knowledge, nothing is being seriously considered at this time on 431.

The North Tahoe/Truckee Transport program provides accessible, shared ride transportation for elderly residents with monthly out-of-area trips to Auburn, Roseville, Sacramento, Nevada City, Grass Valley, and Reno. TTD [Tahoe Transportation District] operates service from South Lake Tahoe as far as Carson City (with linkage to Reno via Washoe RTC) daily during commute hours. It seems like a service could be successful linking Reno to Truckee/Norden on I-80 with transfers in Truckee to TART services that access SR-89 and SR-267. That would be a long ride but would likely draw commuters and visitors. However, as that would be out-of-Basin, Washoe RTC would likely have to sponsor and/or work with Placer County.

TTD’s Transit Master Plan might be of interest to see routes that are considered in longer range planning efforts. The proposed route linking Incline and Reno is R3, first mentioned on page 12 of the document.

~ George Fink, transit system program manager, Tahoe Transportation District

Placer County has considered connecting transit before, but found adding a Reno-bound route to be costly and could compromise resources intended to support county main routes in North Lake Tahoe. We are still looking at alternative opportunities such as the VANPOOL subsidy program operated by the Washoe Regional Transportation Commission. Placer County remains committed to programs that will alleviate regional traffic concerns, while ensuring they are an appropriate use of county funding.

~ Will Garner, Placer County Department of Public Works

On the RTC Bus Service Between Reno and Incline Village

The Regional Transportation Commission regretfully has discontinued its weekend and holiday bus service between Reno and Sand Harbor State Park at Lake Tahoe earlier than anticipated. The service launched on May 24, [2014] as a demonstration project and was originally slated to continue through Labor Day. However, steep mountainous terrain and the intense summer heat are causing substantial wear and tear on the buses.

The fleet of buses is maintained regularly, and safety is the RTC’s top priority. Maintenance crews discovered the brake and fluid systems on several buses were overheating, which required frequent repairs and replacement of parts. In order to maintain the highest safety standards at all times, continuing the service was no longer feasible.

Since debuting, the Sand Harbor service helped connect more than 950 riders with recreational opportunities. While a significant amount, the demand was less than anticipated and unable to sustain the service. The cost per passenger was the highest among RTC transit services. The service was a demonstration project possible as a result of federal funding from the Federal Highway Administration’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program. The remaining federal funds will be reprogrammed for another transit project in the future.

~ RTC press release, July 16, 2014

Current Public Transit Options Available

The RTC’s VANPOOL program provides subsidies to commuters whose trips begin or end within Washoe County. So a commuter could use RTC’s VANPOOL service, for example, if they lived in Truckee but worked in Reno, or vice versa. People who are interested in signing up for RTC’s VANPOOL program can visit our website for more information: rtcwashoe.com/public-transportation/rtc-vanpool/

~ Lauren Ball, public information officer, RTC

Greyhound bus, daily: Reno to Truckee or Truckee to Reno, approximately 50 minutes, as low as $8 one way

Amtrak train, daily: Reno to Truckee (one hour, one minute) or Truckee to Reno (one hour, 18 minutes), as low as $11 one way (though this price sells out early on)

~ Greyhound and Amtrak websites, respectively