On Thursday, June 21, the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) held a meeting at Panaca’s town hall to discuss Lincoln County’s specific public transportation needs.

At the moment, Lincoln County has relatively little by way of public transport, consisting mostly of the bus that has routes through the various towns of our community and down to Las Vegas, along with some private assistance. NDOT intends to change that by offering financial and logistical help to make sure that Lincoln County citizens have access to efficient methods of public transportation.

The meeting was presented under the joint efforts of Cory Peacock, Julie Schaefer, and Albert Bass. The group recognized their superior, Matt Bradley, who was unable to attend the meeting but who has been working tirelessly to try and develop programs to help rural communities.

To begin, Peacock, Schaefer, and Bass mentioned a survey that they hope every member of the community fills out, to help pinpoint some of the issues the town is facing.

After this, they went over some of the possible means by which they can find funding for a public transportation system, including the Fast Act. This legislation aims at streamlining public transportation services to help fill empty seats. The act also works with the community to help fund projects like bike trails and bike racks on buses, and other community transportation- related needs.

During the presentation it was acknowledged that rural communities in the state have not been well represented in the last few NDOT meetings but the hope is that, through these kinds of community outreach meetings, more information can be gathered on the needs of smaller counties.

Those in attendance at the meeting were then provided with an opportunity to give NDOT some feedback. One of the first things mentioned was arguably the biggest issue that the county faces – scheduling and the problem of distance between the different communities in the county.

According to those in charge of the bus services in Lincoln, if the driver is sick or can’t drive that day, the bus is just out of service, which means that everyone in the community that depends on that sole form of transportation is at a loss. As a possible solution for this problem, the county wants to hire an on-call driver to help lighten the load a little bit, as well as another vehicle that’s smaller in size so that it doesn’t require the driver to have a commercial driver’s license.

In the end, different issues were addressed, and many possible solutions were brought up. Long-term solutions are still forthcoming, but as government agencies connect with our communities, we come closer and closer to having the tools necessary to enact real change.