The Veggie Buck Truck at the Bonneville Transit Center during a pop-up event on Sept. 8, 2021. Operated by the founders of the Vegas Roots Community Garden, the Veggie Buck Truck is a mobile farmers market that aims to provide access to fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables, especially in low-income areas with limited access to grocery stores.
Located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, the Bonneville Transit Center (BTC) serves as the main transit hub for Southern Nevada. On any given weekday, more than 9,000 passenger boardings occur across the 15 routes that service the transit center.
But the BTC is not just for transit anymore.
Recently, the RTC has been working with community partners to utilize space at the BTC in new ways in an effort to help meet pressing community needs.
This past fall, for example, the BTC plaza played host to a series of fresh produce pop-up markets that aimed to expand access to affordable fresh produce in an area adjacent to a food desert and to the public transit riders who pass through the BTC.
For only $1, shoppers could get four peaches, or two large cucumbers, or two bunches of cilantro. Each purchase also came with a free insulated reusable grocery tote to help ensure the produce remained cool as riders completed their commutes.
In total, 700 pounds of fresh produce was sold over three pop-ups, which were held in partnership with the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) and Veggie Buck Truck. Nearly a third of the total transactions were completed using SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps).
Consumers visiting the Veggie Buck Truck pop-up event at the Bonneville Transit Center on Sept. 8, 2021.
The initial run of pop-up markets at the BTC surpassed expectations of all partners and resulted in an expanded schedule for 2022. Six pop-ups are currently planned across the spring and fall seasons, with the first happening April 6. Click here for the upcoming spring 2022 dates.
And fresh produce won’t be the only offering coming to the BTC this spring. A social services pop-up event will be taking over the BTC’s plaza on the morning of April 19.
The Project Connect pop-up will offer immediate access to services such as housing assistance, medical care, COVID-19 vaccinations, employment support, hygiene care, and resource navigation. Project Connect is being held in partnership with the Nevada Homeless Alliance, Clark County, Southern Nevada Housing Authority, Southern Nevada Transit Coalition, and Opportunity Village.
The BTC is located in an area that is adjacent to both an area of persistent poverty and one of the more densely populated food deserts in the region, making it an ideal location to offer programing that expands access to critical resources and services.
These pop-up events at the BTC not only help community partners advance key initiatives, but also help address priorities included in several RTC plans, including the Southern Nevada Strong Regional Plan, Access 2050 Regional Transportation Plan, and Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan. These plans all include strategies and recommendations that relate to leveraging the transit system and its physical assets to increase access to essential goods and services that improve public health and quality-of-life in the region.
A transit rider makes a purchase at the Veggie Buck Truck pop-up event at the Bonneville Transit Center on Sept. 8, 2021.
Las Vegas councilwoman Olivia Diaz and North Las Vegas councilman Scott Black at the Veggie Buck Truck pop-up event at the Bonneville Transit Center on Sept. 8, 2021.