Walking around Reno can be great, but you can’t walk everywhere. So what kind of transportation can you get in this city?
The public transportation in Reno, Nevada is run by the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County, Nevada. It has an online Trip Planner for determining the best way to get from A to B, as well as a FlexRIDE service that offers on-demand rides from curb to curb.
Here’s how to plan your trip, whether with the Trip Planner or maps and charts. We’ll also look at fares, tracking the bus, the FlexRIDE service, and bikes on the bus.
Planning Your Trip
When you need to find out how to get from your starting point to your destination, you can conveniently use the online Trip Planner. But, if you would rather figure out how to do it yourself, you can use the maps instead.
The Trip Planner is really easy to use. All you need is to enter the address of your starting point and your destination. You can select the date you need to make the trip.
You can even choose between basing the generated trip on your departure time or arrival time. So if you need to be at your destination by a certain time, choose the “Arrive By” option, but if, instead, you want to leave somewhere by a certain time, choose the “Depart At” option. It’s a pretty neat tool.
Bus Route Maps
But maybe you’d rather use a map. Maps can be helpful when you know the general area of your destination, but not the exact address.
The full map of the bus routes throughout the city is especially helpful because, along with all the color-coded routes, it has lots of prominent destinations labeled on the map, including City Hall, Walmart, Sak’n Save, and lots of schools. So even if your destination isn’t on the map, you can use those locations to find which route would bring you close.
For example, if you live on the southwest side of the city, you’ll find that there’s a bus route that runs around Moana Park, along the east side of the Washoe Golf course, and all the way up to the transfer center at the center of the city.
The maps also show the exact areas where the FlexRIDE service operates. We’ll talk about FlexRide later.
So the maps are good for finding the route you need to take, but the big map doesn’t show the stops. That means that after you find the route you need to take, you’ll have to look up the stops that the bus makes to find the best place to get on and off.
There is a website that has links to all that information: just select the route you need, and it will take you to a table that shows all the stops the bus makes and what time the bus gets to each of those stops during its rounds throughout the day. Keep in mind that arrival times can vary, so make sure to get there a few minutes early to avoid being left behind.
Fares are always subject to change, so you should check to see exactly how much your ride will cost. But as a rule, a single ride will cost slightly less than a day pass, so if you need to make more than one trip in a day, the day pass might be the way to go. Similarly, you can save money on frequent trips by getting a 7-day pass or a 31-day pass.
When you know that you’re going to have to pay with cash, be sure to bring the exact amount, because the fareboxes won’t give you change, and neither will the driver. You may be refunded with a pass, but you won’t get any cashback.
Individuals who qualify for reduced fares only have to pay about half of the normal fare. There are several variables that can qualify you for reduced fares: age, having a disability, and being a US Veteran being the primary ones. Such an individual will need to provide an ID to prove that they qualify.
Youth and seniors get reduced fares. A youth is anyone between the ages of 6 and 18 or with a current middle school or high school ID. Children ages 5 and under ride free when they are accompanied by a parent.
Seniors anyone above age 60, and should get an RTC RIDE Reduced card from the 4th Street station to present when getting their reduced fare.
US Military Veterans can provide a state driver’s license or state ID with the Veterans designation to get their reduced fare. Alternatively, they can use a DD form 214.
Seniors and veterans with disabilities can alternatively get an RTC Disabled ID card.
If you’re a college student at the University of Nevada or Truckee Meadows Community College, I’ve got good news for you! You can get free passage on fixed-route buses just by using your UNR or TMCC ID.
Bus route 7 travels between the transfer center at the center of the city and the University of Nevada Stead campus. Its route also passes the University of Nevada Reno.
Route 15 travels from that same central transfer center to Dandini Boulevard at Truckee Meadows Community College, making only two stops on the way: one stop at Sutro Street and E 9th Street and another at Northtowne Lane and Lund Lane.
Faculty and staff of these schools also get free rides on fixed routes when they show their ID.
Tracking the Bus
Anyone with experience catching buses can tell you that arrival times are variable, but sometimes you just want to know exactly when to expect your bus to arrive.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can keep track of that. RTC buses are tracked using satellite technology provided by Umo. You can access the information either from the app, online, by texting, or by phone. For texting and phone, you’ll need to have your stop number handy.
The first way is by the app. On both Android and iOS, just search “Umo.” Choose “Umo Mobility,” and select the RTC Washoe system.
The app will give you automatic notifications of when your ride is about to arrive.
The online version of Umo can be accessed through the Routes Archive page of the RTC. All of the fixed routes have a link to the real-time maps from Umo.
For getting arrival time information via text, you’ll need to text “Reno” then a space followed by your stop number to 41411. Then, you’ll get a reply with your arrival time.
For getting your arrival time through the phone, you will need to call 775-473-1065. Follow the prompts, including entering your stop number, and they will give you your bus’s arrival time.
FlexRIDE is the RTC’s on-demand curbside to curbside transportation service. It’s only available in certain parts of the city, but if those areas coincide with the trip you want to take, then you can take full advantage of this cool service.
At the time of writing, a ride with this service is only $2 per trip, and if you qualify for reduced fares, it’s only $1.
To use FlexRIDE, you need to download the RTC Washoe FlexRIDE app. You can download it on either your smartphone or tablet, and it works on both Android and iOS. This app will help you schedule your ride as well as give you notifications about your ride so that you can be sure of catching it.
The video below walks you through exactly how to use the app to schedule your ride, but basically, once you have it all set up, you just put in your destination, and then you can expect your ride to arrive at your location to pick you up within 8 to 15 minutes.
If you can’t or don’t want to download the app, you can alternatively schedule your ride by calling the dispatcher at (775) 335-0035.
FlexRIDE drivers can’t accept cash for fares, so be sure to have your Token Transit or Bus Pass handy to pay for your ride.
If you like to ride your bike around the city, you’re in luck, because you can bring your bike with you when you ride the bus. Every RTC bus is equipped with bike racks that can hold either two or three bikes. So as long as you’re strong enough to lift the bike onto the rack, and the rack on your bus has an empty slot, you can bring your bike.
Loading your bike onto the rack is easy. Just lower the rack, put your bike into the most outside slot, and then pull up the support arm to secure it in place.
Make sure you tell the driver whenever you’re loading or unloading your bike from the rack. You might also want to find a seat on the bus where you can keep an eye on it.
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