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Public transit to extend to Spanish Springs, Somersett, Verdi

By Carla O'Day

Spanish Springs and Somersett are scheduled to daily get micro-transit services provided by the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County starting in September.

Additionally, a popular fixed bus route in Sun Valley will extend further north and a separate fixed route on Prater Way will extend east.

FlexRIDE micro-transit, curbside-to-curbside service allows passengers to request pick-ups and drop offs within the micro-transit’s boundaries. It began in certain areas of Sparks and the North Valleys in May.

For Somersett and Verdi, FlexRIDE coverage would be provided for most areas with a connection point to the RTC RIDE bus stop at Walmart on North McCarran Boulevard, Northwest Library on Robb Drive, and the bus stop at the corner of Avenida de Landa and Sharlands Avenue.

“It covers most of that area, including attractions, such as Cabela’s and the Boomtown casino,” said James Gee, RTC service planning and innovation manager, told board members during Friday’s meeting.

For the Spanish Springs area, the zone will be merged with the existing Sparks FlexRIDE area. Based on public feedback, Gee said a drop-off point was added for the almost 600-acre Spanish Springs Business Center on West Calle De La Plata.

“It basically allows seamless connections for anywhere in those areas, but also includes connections to Centennial Plaza Transit Center (on Victorian Avenue),” Gee said. “Based on public comments, we added the Spanish Springs Business Center as a point of interest, primarily for employment trips. A person who even lives in Reno could board the bus and FlexRIDE at Centennial Plaza and use that to get to work at the Spanish Springs Business Center.”

Gee said public surveys showed merging Sparks with Spanish Springs was preferred over a standalone FlexRIDE Spanish Springs zone. With the contiguous boundaries, for example, he said someone who lives in Spanish Springs can take FlexRIDE to the Sparks Senior Center on Richards Way in central Sparks.

“I’m beyond excited for this,” said RTC board member Vaughn Hartung, who represents Spanish Springs on the Washoe County Commission. “We’ve been asking for some service in Spanish Springs for as many years as I can remember, literally. So this is a wonderful addition. We’ve got a growing senior population and FlexRIDE is much more convenient for many of them who are ambulatory, but may not be able to walk the complete distances to get to the bus stops.”

FlexRide hours are 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays, 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. weekends. Fare is is the same as RTCRide — $2 each way, and reduced rates of $1 for those who qualify. Children age 5 and younger ride free.

Fixed bus route adjustments to take effect Sept. 5 are as follows:

  • Route 5, also known as Sutro/Sun Valley, currently ends northbound service at Sun Valley Boulevard and 8th Avenue. The new plan has the route ending at Desert Skies Middle School on Donatello Drive with stop frequency remaining the same. It would reach about 10 percent more people, according to RTC data.
  • Route 18, the Glendale/Greg route, operates once hourly daily. On evenings and Sundays, there is a gap in this hourly service. The proposed change is to add three additional trips on weekdays at 7:15, 8:15, and 9:15 p.m.
  • Route 25, an existing route that operates primarily on Prater Way between the Centennial Plaza Transit Center and Howard Drive, would be extended east to Northern Nevada Medical Center, 2375 E. Prater Way. RTC plans to rename it Route 26 and it would reach approximately 42 percent more people.

The extended routes and new service will cost about $1.6 million annually. Funding is already in RTC’s 2021 fiscal year’s budget.

For information on how to use RTC FlexRIDE: https://www.rtcwashoe.com/public-transportation/flexride/

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