Residents of Pahrump, Tonopah, and Beatty will soon be able to ride the bus to Las Vegas and Reno, and points in between.
Silver State Trailways plans to start regular, daily service beginning June 1. Each morning a bus will leave Reno heading south, and another will leave Las Vegas heading north.
In Pahrump, they have made arrangements to stop at the Pahrump Nugget. The north-bound bus should leave Pahrump at about 9:15 a.m., and the south-bound bus around 5:15 p.m.
The north-bound bus should be in Beatty sometime between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m., and the south-bound bus should be there between 3:50 and 4 p.m. The Beatty stop will be at Death Valley Nut and Candy.
The bus will stop at Tonopah Station north-bound at about 12:10 p.m., and the south-bound bus at about 2:15 p.m.
Bus service between Las Vegas and Reno was discontinued many years ago. There simply was not enough passenger volume to make the route profitable.
Trailways President Tony Fiorini explains that the company was able to secure a federal Rural Transit Grant to make the project economically viable. “We’re hoping it will be good for your communities,” said Fiorini.
Project Manager Jerry Hagan suggested that the service also might be used to promote the communities as destinations. For instance, he said that some passengers might go to Pahrump to participate in wine tasting at the Winery. He said that passengers also might patronize other local businesses on the route, such as picking up candy and snacks at Death Valley Nut and Candy in Beatty.
The company will be working with Greyhound for some of the logistics. Customers will be able, for instance, to go to the Greyhound website to purchase tickets.
Hagan says they are also looking into the possibility of using technology that would make it possible to purchase tickets on the bus.
“That’s good news because people up here unless they have a vehicle they’re stranded,” said Irene Carlyle, a driver for the Nye County Senior Nutrition Program in Tonopah.
Carlyle is a driver for a grant-funded program providing non-emergency medical transportation for seniors to appointments in Pahrump, Bishop, Las Vegas and Fallon. She said non-seniors can use it for medical appointments if they belong to LogistiCare. Seniors are charged $20 round trip, non-seniors pay $40.
“We’re over 200 miles from Vegas and Reno and unless you have a vehicle you’re stuck, you have no access to medical care outside of Nye Regional but that’s it,” Carlyle said. “At least it gives people a chance to get out of town, get to the airport, make visits to people, even if they have to spend the night, it’s better than what we have.”
Two representatives from Trailways attended a NyE Communities Coalition transportation committee meeting last month, according to Pablo Encinias, a Pahrump resident who is also a member of the Southern Nevada Transit Coalition.
Encinias said the Trailways bus has its limitations. It will only drop passengers off at the bus station, they would then have to take a CAT bus for other destinations in Las Vegas or a cab. Passengers would have to wait until the next day for a return bus back to Pahrump.
“It has a very limited impact on the type of need that we have here in Pahrump,” he said. “There’s just no money in public transportation. So if there’s a private entity trying to do it versus a 501(c)3, the non-profits are the only ones that can run it with a subsidy from the government.”
Rather than using it to run errands, Encinias thinks the Trailways bus would be handy in the larger picture for someone traveling to Reno or Las Vegas for a couple of days.
Integrity Taxi operates a 14-passenger shuttle bus from Pahrump to Las Vegas for $24.95 each way that stops in Las Vegas at the Silverton Casino, the South Strip Transportation Center, McCarran Airport and the Fashion Show Mall. It leaves the Pahrump Nugget Hotel and Casino at 7 a.m., with a stop at the Saddle West Hotel and Casino, returning to Pahrump about 6:30 p.m.
Jim Jimmerson, owner of Integrity Taxi, said some days when there are no passengers the Pahrump to Las Vegas shuttle doesn’t operate. But he said they will make the trip even if there’s only one passenger.
“We’re doing it as a service to the community,” Jimmerson said.
Jeremy Jenson, Golden Gaming Inc. vice-president and general manager, said any time another option is created for Pahrump residents it’s a good thing. The Trailways Bus and the Integrity shuttle will both stop at his business. Jenson predicted over several months the Integrity shuttle business will pick up when locals become aware of the service.
Pahrump Valley Times Senior Staff Writer Mark Waite contributed to this report.