Pahrump Valley Times

Pahrump bus system motors into full service

Feb. 26 was a very exciting and momentous day in the valley with the official hard launch of the Pahrump Valley Public Transportation bus system.

After more than a decade of struggle by a variety of entities and individuals to bring a functioning bus service to the area, the longstanding endeavor has resulted in success through the combined efforts of the Pahrump Transportation Committee and the Pahrump Senior Center.

Approximately 50 locals gathered together to celebrate the milestone in the community during the ribbon-cutting ceremony held Monday morning.

Included in the event were Nye County commissioners, representatives from the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, Southern Nevada Transit Coalition members, Nevada Department of Transportation staff and other local organizations, along with members of the transportation committee.

The PVPT is a demand-response service being managed and operated by the Pahrump Senior Center, which has secured a Nevada Department of Transportation grant to fund the operation. The grant monies are dedicated to expanding the senior center’s existing transportation program to include all valley residents, rather than just senior citizens.

As of Feb. 26, the PVPT is officially in full-service Monday through Friday and residents can schedule for the bus to pick them up directly from almost wherever they happen to be and transport them to nearly anywhere within Pahrump. There is even an option for medical transportation to Las Vegas.

Glowing reaction

“It is with much joy that, after nearly an entire year of 16-hour days and countless obstacles to overcome, we have made this dream a reality,” Pahrump Senior Center/PVPT Transportation Supervisor Eric Whalen stated following the ribbon cutting. “I feel a great sense of accomplishment on both a personal and professional level in being able to provide this service to our community and we are looking forward to continuing to provide and expand our operation for the years ahead.”

Pahrump Transportation Committee Chair Salli Kerr was just as enthusiastic as Whalen about the launch, remarking that she believed the PVPT would become a mainstay in the community.

“It was with great excitement that we gathered for the grand opening of Pahrump Valley Public Transportation,” Kerr said with obvious happiness. “We are thankful for the community support of this important project and for the Pahrump Senior Center in all that it has done in making this possible. Without the continued support of the community and the willingness of the Pahrump Senior Center board, Anne Harris and Eric Whalen and his staff, this day would not be happening.”

Kerr continued, “Many times we work on valued projects that serve our community, rarely do we get a chance to work on something that will be a legacy. This is that legacy for the many that have put in their valuable time, resources and talents to see it to fruition.”

Nye County Commission Chairman John Koenig, who has been involved in the effort to bring bus service to the valley, expressed his pleasure in the official launch as well.

“I am extremely happy that this service has officially started and is successful,” Koenig said. “This effort has been ongoing for about 10 years and finally succeeded … It is fantastic and I can’t be more pleased. I have championed this for a couple years but others have worked harder and longer at it and I would take my hat off to them if I wore a hat.”

The specs of service

The PVPT is utilizing buses donated by the Utah Transit Authority, which are configurable to allow for riders to stand or sit and to accommodate disabled patrons as well. Buses run Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. but Whalen noted that some evenings the buses are running until 5:30 p.m. in order to keep pace with demand.

With the valley such a large and spread-out town, the decision was made to have a north route and south route but now, with such a positive response to the service, organizers are in the midst of developing a central route too.

“In addition to our designated ‘north’ and ‘south’ routes, we will be adding a ‘central’ route as well, especially during our peak hours of operations,” Whalen explained. “We already have plans to expand to weekend service, we just need to work out some minor details regarding weekend staff/office operations. We’ve had an already overwhelming response to our services with new riders being added daily for employment, social, shopping, medical, et cetera.”

Fare varies depending upon the rider. For most adults, the fare is $3 one way or $6 round trip. However, for seniors aged 60 and over, a donation in the aforementioned amounts is suggested.

Children under the age of 12 can take a ride on the PVPT for just $2 per person one way or $4 round trip, as can all Nye County School District students carrying their school identification card, regardless of age.

All in-town PVPT rides must be scheduled by no later than 1:30 p.m. with at least 24 hours of advance notice.

For transportation into Las Vegas, which is for medical appointments only, the fare is $20 round trip. Seniors 60 and older, a donation of $20 per trip is suggested. Transportation to Las Vegas must be scheduled no later than 11 a.m. with at least 48 hours of advance notice.

For those who must undergo dialysis, the senior center’s transportation program also offers rides to the local dialysis center on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for a suggested donation of $8 round trip.

For more information and to schedule a ride contact the PVPT at 775-751-6860.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes