For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of navigating Highway 89 near Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley on the weekend– consider yourself lucky. Traffic is an absolute mess throughout this 14-mile corridor, which runs between Tahoe City and Truckee. Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley are both accessed by this highway and come 9:00 AM on a weekend, the traffic can get downright disgusting.
Factor in grandiose development plans at Squaw Valley to include an enormous waterpark, more condominiums, and hotels and it’s safe to say the congestion will only get exponentially worse in the coming years.
After completing two pilot programs in the past few years, the Placer County Board of Supervisors has approved a program dubbed the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Micro Mass Transit District. The ol’ micro mass transit eh?
“The new transit service will operate like other ride-sharing services by enabling customers to use a smartphone app to reserve a trip. Neighborhood-friendly shuttles will pick up and drop off resort visitors at their preferred locations as long as they are near the main shuttle routes that feed both resorts.” – The Tahoe Weekly
The idea is simple, try to encourage public transit to the two ski resorts thus reducing traffic congestion and environmental impact caused by all of the vehicles. This transit system will tie into the larger Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit.
Funding for the program will come from Squaw and Alpine. The resorts will contribute 1% lift ticket revenue to the program. In addition, participating hotels and rental organizations will contribute 1% of their gross revenue.
“Budget is estimated at $715,000, which includes annual revenue generated by a proposed 1 percent assessment on overnight accommodation rental revenue for stays of less than 30 days from participating lodges in Olympic Valley and a contribution from Squaw Valley Ski Holdings.” – Placer County
While we can’t knock the effort to address the traffic problems Highway 89 corridor, it is hard to imagine this program having a substantial impact. We will see how the details work out, but it is hard to imagine ridership being high enough to make a difference. Americans love their vehicles and they will require a fast and easy alternative to convince them to leave their vehicles at their hotels and condos. It will be interesting to see travel times between the micro mass transit and folks who opt to drive.
Find the entire document here: Placer mountain resorts look to create on-demand transit system in Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows