The free “Sierra Spirit” bus that travels up and down North Virginia Street is afflicted by stale signage, some of its staleness recession-related. Until recently the flashing digital sign over the windshield listed the Jot Travis Student Union, which has not existed since November 2007 as one of the route’s stops. Still listed as a stop is the Nevada Museum of Art, though the bus has not stopped there since March 2009.
Then there are the signs at bus stops. They read in part, “Sierra Spirit is Free EVERY TEN MINUTES Every Day 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM.” But the recession has cut into that aspect of service. According to a Regional Transportation Commission spokesperson, the correct figure has been 15 minutes, also since March 2009: “[W]e reduced the service area by about a third, no longer operating south of the Truckee River. That change allowed us to operate the remaining route with two buses rather than three. We had hoped that change would allow us to maintain the 10 minute headway, but over time, we realized it was closer to 15 minutes.” Replacing the signs would cost money. Washoe County ended its financial contribution to the bus service in April 2010.
The bus takes tourists to the Planetarium and Nevada Historical Society, and also serves students on the university campus.