A new private-public partnership extends intercity fixed route service
By David Hubbard
Silver State Trailways, Orange, CA, a Trailways Transportation System member, launched its Silver State Mainline in June to provide intercity fixed route bus service between Doyle, CA, and Las Vegas.
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A public-private partnership with the Nevada Department of Transportation allows Silver State Mainline to connect with riders in rural municipalities underserved by public transportation that include municipalities, unincorporated areas, military installations and Native American communities with stops in Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Fallon, Hawthorne, Tonopah, Beatty and Pahrump. The service also connects with Greyhound Bus Lines in Reno and Las Vegas.
The Silver State Mainline project is made possible by DOT Federal Program 5311(f), which provides assistance to fund regularly scheduled intercity bus service for the general public. This program requires limited stops over fixed routes that connect two or more urban areas not in close proximity.
“I have been working with Silver State Trailways for the past couple of years to get this service in place,” says Nevada Department of Transportation Transit Manager Michelle Gardner. “The most difficult aspect for me was the fact they wanted to use Greyhound as their match. I had never heard of this option and really had to do my research to see if this match source was eligible for FTA funding.”
As the DOT in her region was not familiar with this type of match, Gardner had to call around to find another DOT with a similar program in place.
“As it turned out, Washington State DOT was very helpful,” she says. “After researching the laws and talking with WSDOT, I finally told Silver State we were going to move forward.”
The next step was to get Silver State in compliance with all FTA requirements.
“The company complies with all of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requirements,” Gardner says. “But that doesn’t mean it met all the FTA requirements.”
The service must demonstrate the capability to transport passengers with their baggage and make “meaningful connections” with other scheduled intercity bus service. Gardner points out that Silver State was careful in its due diligence, advertising to the public that it was applying for these funds to start this service in the event that other for-profit companies might want to compete for this service. In the end, Silver State won the contract.
“With this new service, Silver State Trailways is able to extend transportation options that increase mobility significantly for the residents in these Nevada communities,” says Silver State General Manager Jerry Hagan. “The Mainline also provides greater economic opportunity and improves quality of life for their citizens.”
This private-public service allows additional opportunities for Nevada residents and other travelers to ride the public transit systems in both Reno and Las Vegas. Silver State Trailways says it will soon be working to courier packages along the service corridor.
“I think this is a good route,” Gardner says. “It is connecting some very rural areas of our state to the larger metropolitan areas, which us good for all of us. I want to see this succeed.”