SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CALIF. – On the heels of major July Fourth traffic jams, 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.
“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.”
Quick facts about the pilot program:
- 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.
“We are in this for our mission to protect Lake Tahoe,” said Jesse Patterson, the League’s chief strategy officer. “If we are going to cut the pollution that’s degrading Lake Tahoe’s clarity, we absolutely must find ways for people to get to and around Lake Tahoe without everyone needing to drive their own car for every single 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.
“Tahoe’s traffic problems have been studied for decades, but we need solutions now,” said Patterson. “Just like bike share, this pilot lets us test one more way to give people better transportation choices.”
About the League to Save Lake Tahoe
The League to Save Lake Tahoe, also known by the slogan “Keep Tahoe Blue,” is Tahoe’s oldest and largest nonprofit environmental advocacy organization. The League is dedicated to community engagement and education, and collaborating to find solutions to Tahoe’s environmental challenges. The League’s main campaigns include combatting pollution, promoting restoration, tackling invasive species and protecting Tahoe’s shoreline. Learn more at keeptahoeblue.org.
Chariot is reinventing transportation with a microtransit solution that is fast, reliable and affordable for people living in today’s cities. Riders can easily reserve a seat on a Chariot via the iOS or Android app, and hop on one of the company’s 14-passenger Ford Transit vehicles operated by friendly, professional employee drivers. After launching in San Francisco in 2014, the company participated in Y Combinator’s Winter 2015 class and was acquired in September 2016 by Ford Smart Mobility to serve as the cornerstone for its global shuttle services business. Chariot runs more than 100 daily routes serving San Francisco, New York, Austin, Seattle, Columbus and London. For more information, visit www.chariot.com.