The Utah Transit Authority bus route between Park City and Salt Lake City, one of the top local public transit accomplishments in a decade, restarts weekend service for the winter season on Saturday and Sunday.
And riders will not have to pay as much for the service as they had before. A one-way ticket will cost $4.25, down from $5.50 previously. The ticket also allows someone to transfer to local buses in the Salt Lake Valley and the TRAX light rail system without having to pay another fare, another change in the service. The price of a 30-day pass, meanwhile, has been dropped from $242 to $153.
The weekend service will be the first since April, when the Saturday and Sunday buses stopped when the ski season ended. There will be three buses in each direction when the weekend service restarts.
Kent Cashel, the transit and transportation manager for City Hall, said officials want to increase rider numbers significantly, leading to the decision to reduce the prices. He said the numbers have been "positive," but higher rider counts are desired.
"We need to grow that number to twice what we've got," Cashel said.
Cashel said the route averaged 215 riders per day in January, which is traditionally one of the busiest months of the year in Park City. The number fell to 85 per day in July. Fewer buses were operating on the route in July.
Cashel said the target this winter is between 400 and 425 riders per day. The target will be between 150 and 160 per day next summer, he said.
He said officials will work with tourism and business officials in Park City and Salt Lake City to better align the routes with their needs. Cashel also said talks are ongoing with large employers in the Salt Lake Valley such as the University of Utah and University Hospital that could lead to more of their workers using the route.
The route will expand to its full winter service on Dec. 9. There will be five buses in each direction on weekdays starting that day. Three buses per day will still drive in each direction on weekends.
The buses are 45 feet long and carry 46 people.
City Hall and the County Courthouse provide subsidies to the Utah Transit Authority for the service. Each of the local governments put up to $235,000 into the route during the 12 months between October 2011 and October 2012. The figure was within the budget that had been set and it will be the same in the period between October 2012 and October 2013.
Stops in the Park City area include New Park, Canyons, Park Avenue, Park City Mountain Resort, the Old Town transit center and Deer Valley Resort. Stops in the Salt Lake Valley include Central Station, 3900 South 2300 East as well as 3900 South and Wasatch Boulevard.
The bus route launched in 2011 after years of negotiations between Park City, Summit County and state transportation officials. They see the route between Park City and the Salt Lake Valley as something that reduces traffic, cuts emissions and offers people without vehicles a transportation option.
For more information, visit the following page on the Utah Transit Authority website: www.rideuta.com/mc/?page=Bus-BusHome-Route902. More information is also available by calling Park City Transit at 615-5301 during regular business hours.