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RTC celebrates 20 years of providing public transportation in Las Vegas valley
RTC leaders look back at two decades of progress, thank riders with free doughnuts
By: Regional Transportation Commission of Southern NV
Overall, the RTC today manages more than 35 bus routes, close to 4,000 bus stops and carries over 179,000 bus riders daily. The RTC has one of the most efficient transit systems in country and is the 19th busiest transit system in the nation.
"It is truly remarkable to look back at where we were in 1992 and where we are today" said RTC board chairman Larry Brown. "Although we have one of the youngest transit systems in the country, we have achieved significant milestones as we continue to provide a safe, convenient and effective regional transportation system for our residents and visitors."
“As our valley grew, so did our transit system,” added Tina Quigley, general manager of the RTC. “Twenty years ago, we had a fraction of the transit routes we have today and carried about a third of the 60 million riders we now carry per year. We are continuing to build our transit system to serve the changing needs of our community.”
Quigley added that the valley’s population has grown by 133 percent in the past two decades, and local traffic volumes grew even faster with an approximate 189 percent increase.
To mark the anniversary, the RTC provided free Krispy Kreme Doughnuts to riders and drivers at RTC transit facilities on Dec. 5. Additionally, representatives of the RTC, including Quigley, visited with riders at RTC transit centers, thanking them for their patronage over the past 20 years.
History of RTC transit – Highlights:
Under the brand Citizens Area Transit, the RTC transit system began on Dec. 5, 1992, under the direction of Kurt Weinrich, its executive director. Ridership more than doubled between 1994 and 1998 as the RTC extended routes and increased frequency of buses. The RTC would later re-brand the service to simply RTC Transit, and over the past two decades, the RTC would revise and increase its number of routes to better serve the growing community. The agency continually upgrades its fleet with more modern, fuel-efficient and comfortable vehicles.
To further promote transit and alternative transportation in Southern Nevada, the RTC created Club Ride Commuter Services in 1999, a free program that helps commuters in the Las Vegas Valley find inexpensive and easier ways to get to work using alternatives to driving solo to the office, including carpools, public transportation, biking and walking. The Club Ride program began with approximately 2,700 participants and has grown to nearly 27,000 in 2012.
In 2004, the RTC announced the opening of the Metropolitan Area Bus Rapid Transit System (MAX), the first bus rapid transit line in Southern Nevada. The Federal Transit Administration funded the line as a national demonstration, one of the nation’s earliest bus rapid transit projects, helping to provide ten vehicles for the MAX system. MAX features dedicated transit lanes, low floors, level boarding, enhanced passenger stations, and advanced diesel-electric vehicle features along the 7.5-mile route that runs from Las Vegas to North Las Vegas with limited stops.
The next year, the RTC launched the iconic Deuce on the Strip service. The double-decker vehicle marked a new era of transportation along Las Vegas Strip, carrying primarily tourists to and from local attractions and hotel-casinos along the resort corridor. Transit service is so popular along the Strip, today it is one of only a few public transit routes in the country that makes a profit, helping to support the cost of the overall system.
The RTC would add to its resort corridor transit service with the Strip & Downtown Express (SDX) in 2010. The SDX utilizes dedicated bus lanes in downtown Las Vegas and moves about 15,000 riders per day from downtown to the convention center and along the resort corridor faster with limited stops. Combined with the Deuce, the RTC carries about 40,000 riders along the resort corridor daily. That same year, the RTC opened the Bonneville Transit Center, replacing the aging Downtown Transportation Center. A LEED® Platinum certified building, the center serves as the hub for transit services, including bus rapid transit and express services, for routes in the center of the Las Vegas Valley.
Over the past few years, the RTC has continued to grow its express transit routes that are built with commuters in mind. These routes, including the Centennial Express, Westcliff Airport Express, Boulder Highway Express, Henderson to Downtown Express and the newest routes, the Sahara Express and Downtown & Veterans Medical Center Express (commuter bus). The express services carry riders from residential areas into the high-density employment centers of downtown Las Vegas and the Strip.
Additionally, the RTC has built new park & ride locations and transit facilities to make riding transit more convenient and accessible. The RTC opened the South Strip Transfer Terminal in 2003 to provide a free park & ride lot with direct transit service to McCarran International Airport. In 2010, the RTC opened the Centennial Hills Transit Center and Park & Ride as well as the Westcliff Transit Center and Park & Ride, both of which provide free parking and a full-service transit facility for commuters.
The RTC has also made it more convenient for customers to purchase transit passes. In addition to purchasing the fare on the bus, online at rtcsnv.com (http://www.rtcsnv.com/
The RTC is the transit authority, transportation planning agency and regional traffic management agency for Southern Nevada. The RTC’s vision is to provide a safe, convenient and effective regional transportation system that enhances mobility and air quality for citizens and visitors. The RTC encourages residents and visitors to use alternate commute modes to help reduce traffic congestion, clean the air and improve the quality of life in Southern Nevada. For more information, visit rtcsnv.com (http://www.rtcsnv.com).