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Nye Ryder inches closer to launch after fundraising success

Pahrump's first local transportation program is about to make a leap toward launch after organizers collected enough money to deliver the four donated buses.

Albert Bass, one of the organizers for the Nye Ryder, a local on-demand transportation program, said that four members of the Nye County Regional Transportation Committee will pick up the four buses donated to the program by the Utah Transit Authority on Jan. 13.

The initiative was funded by numerous donations from the community, including the Pahrump Nugget and Pahrump Valley Disposal, Inc., that donated $500 each and NyE Communities Coalition donated $300. Bass announced the program's fundraising efforts in October.

"There are a couple more businesses who committed, yet have not yet submitted as of this date. Also another $1000 in many private donations from individuals in the community," Bass said.

Charles Rutkowski, assistant director for the Washington, D.C.- based CTAA (Community Transportation Association of America) recently visited Pahrump and compiled a report outlining the needs assessment of the Pahrump Valley.

The 12-page report prepared by Rutkowski showed that Pahrump was "very ripe" for a transportation program, Bass said.

"We based our assessment on analysis of the demographics of Pahrump, examination of the configuration of the community, including trip generators such as residential, shopping, commercial and employment areas and discussions with the key stakeholders in the project," Rutkowski said in an email. "Prospects for operational funding are very positive and vehicles have already been secured."

Due to Rutkowski's findings, Bass said officials will move ahead with technical assistance for the program as they will assign a professional transportation consultant to work with Nye Ryder at no charge.

"This finding made it possible for the CTAA to continue supporting us and hire a professional transportation consultant company to work with us as a community to develop and implement a mass public transportation program," Bass said.

Nye Ryder organizers will work with LSC transportation consultants out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. In the meantime, the CTAA will continue supporting transportation program development, process and implementation requirements.

The transportation consultants will help with transportation planning, transit planning and operations, engineering operations and design, data collection and analysis, program requirements and implementation, Bass said. Their first trip to Pahrump is slated for Jan. 21 and 22.

Since Nye Ryder had been discussed at the Nye County Regional Transportation Commission in late August, officials scaled the proposed program down to 5,000 hours a month from the original 9,000 hours.

"In our assessment of the community, we saw that trip generators are scattered," Rutkowski said. "This characteristic of the community lends itself to the demand-responsive mode of service that would initially be provided. Over time, as trip patterns become established, fixed route services could be provided."

Nye Ryder has yet to get a nod from Nye County commissioners and Nye County Regional Transportation Commission. If the program is approved, officials said the NDOT grant will not kick in until October 2016.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

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