.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Transit system picks up speed

-A A +A
By Katy Korkos

All-day bus service for everyone in the county began last week, with great steps forward and a few setbacks. Seven new bus drivers started driving for Atomic City Transit on Monday, the same day that several inches of snow fell in Los Alamos and White Rock. Transportation Division Manager Nancy Talley and Transit System Manager  Mike Davis spoke to the Leadership Los Alamos class of 2008 on Friday, in the session on local and regional connections.“Monday was a busy day,” Talley  said. “It snowed, it was the first day of all-day service, we had seven new employees, and we had lots of riders who didn’t want to drive in the snow.” She added that there were “a few minor glitches” with service on Monday, but that riders remained cheerful and supportive of the service.One bus was involved in a traffic accident on Friday. “That bus was totaled,” Davis said.Three new buses have already been ordered, and are expected to arrive in March. “Those will be primarily for the Dial a Ride service,” Davis said today. The Dial a Ride service is primarily available to those who have a documented disability or are age 60 and over. It is a curb-to-curb service that operates from 6 a.m.- 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.Residents can call Atomic City Dispatch any time from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. up to three days in advance to reserve a ride.Atomic City Transit is the first true public transportation system in Los Alamos County, and has geared up quickly since the county first assumed operations on Oct. 1. The new transit system has been fine-tuning each of the routes, and Davis and his staff update the time points each two weeks. The new schedule is set each Thursday, and published to the website each Friday. The KanDu Center and libraries carry copies of the print version of the schedule as soon as it is printed. The buses start driving the new schedules on the following Monday. The interim schedules will be refined, continuing the two-week rotation until Davis is confident that the routes are working well. Rather than bus stops, the schedule shows time points, when residents can expect the bus to be at specific places along the route. To catch a bus along its regular route, residents should find the time the bus will be in the area, go out to the street and stand on the side of the street the bus will be traveling on, and wave when they see the bus coming. Bus drivers are trained to look for passengers all along the route.During the holidays, there will be no bus service on Christmas and New Year’s Day, and the service to Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Route 2 will be suspended while the laboratory is closed, from Dec. 24-Jan. 1. After-school service on routes 7, 8 and 9 will also be suspended during the winter school break, from Dec. 24-Jan. 4.The transit system has a new phone number, 661-RIDE, and a new name for the website, www.atomiccitytransit.com. The system encourages feedback regarding every aspect of Atomic City Transit, from concerns to compliments. Residents can expect a grand opening in mid-January, and the bus service will remain free until at least April 30.