RTC Ridership may Be Up, But Service Cutbacks Loom

By  | 

More of us are leaving the family vehicle at home and taking the bus. The Regional Transportation Commission says ridership is at an all-time high.

Last month nearly 800,000 took the bus, that's more than a 4 percent increase over the same month last year. More adults, seniors and disabled passengers are opting to ride.
The only decline is in the number of young people riding the bus. A change in the youth discount on tickets is apparently to blame.

These increases are coming after a cutback in service that saw some routes dropped. RTC officials admit those cutbacks hurt ridership and, if they could restore service and expand it, ridership would rise even further. So, if demand is increasing why is the RTC looking at possible further cutbacks?

"Seventy percent of our operating revenue comes from the sales tax," says RTC senior transit planner Roger Hanson, "and everyone in this area knows the sales tax has not been doing well.

There's been no decision on any further cutbacks. RTC officials are pinning their hopes on a question on the November ballot. It would increase the sales tax another eighth of a percentage point, the revenue going to public transportation in the Truckee Meadows. "If the voters approve it," says Hanson, "we'd be able to avoid cutbacks and maybe even expand service.