League to Save Lake Tahoe brings Chariot microtransit service to South Tahoe
The League to Save Lake Tahoe (Keep Tahoe Blue) is teaming with Chariot to launch microtransit service on July 9 in South Tahoe’s most traffic-congested tourist area in a pilot program to test lake-friendly transportation solutions.
The nonprofit is teaming up with Chariot to pilot lake-friendly transportation solutions, aims to address decades-long challenges at Lake Tahoe.
“Tahoe jurisdictions and transportation officials have struggled for decades to address traffic at Lake Tahoe,” said Darcie Goodman Collins, PhD, the League’s chief executive officer. “By bringing microtransit to South Tahoe, we’re making Tahoe a laboratory for testing the next generation of transportation solutions.”
Chariot will operate frequent shuttles along a route connecting the Stateline casino corridor to Lakeview Commons in South Lake Tahoe. Each air-conditioned shuttle seats 14.
To ride the microtransit shuttles, people can download the app from chariot.com/download. Riders book a seat using the app and then show their mobile device to the driver.
From its July 9 launch through July 16, all rides will be completely free. For the remainder of the 90-day program, shuttle seats will cost $3 per trip.
Recently, scientists with UC Davis - Tahoe Environmental Research Center announced that Lake Tahoe had its lowest annual average water clarity in history. Along with the impacts of climate change and recent extreme weather swings, pollution from roads has been among the leading contributors to clarity loss.
As part of its mission to protect Lake Tahoe’s world-famous water clarity and quality, the League is anchoring the three-month pilot program at South Tahoe. League experts are providing technical assistance to navigate Tahoe decision-making processes and regional transportation policies to ensure the effectiveness of the service.
"At Chariot, one of our major initiatives is to provide a solution to combat congestion in the areas that need it most,” said Chariot CEO Dan Grossman. "We're looking forward to helping visitors and the local community easily get around South Tahoe, and being another sustainable transportation option people can rely on in the greater area."
With its estimated 24 million annual visitors, Lake Tahoe accommodates more tourism than the top three national parks combined. The League has been pushing for transportation pilots at Tahoe, including the launch of dockless bike share in 2017, to explore solutions to curb traffic-related pollution. Its work to launch microtransit stemmed from the nonprofit advocacy organization’s role facilitating bi-state transportation discussions between California and Nevada.
The League is collaborating with local business leaders to ensure microtransit succeeds, with significant support from the Beach Retreat & Lodge and Round Hill Pines Resort. Local planners with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the City of South Lake Tahoe have contributed their expertise to ensure that the transit routes are well-planned. Under the terms of the pilot, Chariot will also collect data from its vehicles’ on-board GPS systems and share it with the League, Tahoe’s local jurisdictions, TRPA and the Tahoe Transportation District.
“Meeting the travel needs of Lake Tahoe’s visitors is going to require a wide range of transportation services. TRPA is excited to work with the League to Save Lake Tahoe in this public-private partnership. This pilot project is testing new services that will complement Lake Tahoe’s existing transit providers and help give people more options to get around without having to drive their cars,” said Joanne S. Marchetta, executive director of TRPA.
In addition to central destinations in the busiest tourist hubs, stops on the route were chosen to provide linkages to local bike trails and the Tahoe Transportation District’s public transit routes. South Tahoe’s bike share service—which the League partnered with LimeBike to launch in 2017—will enable Chariot riders to extend their trip onto the system’s dockless rental bicycles and electric scooters.
The League and Chariot will also be partnering with the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority during the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship Tournament, ensuring that the microtransit service helps to support the more than 50,000 attendees to the nationally-famous golf event.
In addition to bringing transportation pilot programs to Tahoe, the League advocates for complementary tactics to reduce pollution from transportation at Tahoe, including new transit connections from Tahoe to the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and Reno and improved community planning to make Tahoe’s neighborhoods easier to navigate by bus, on foot or by bicycle.