City Hall officials back Park City-Salt Lake City bus route | ParkRecord.com
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City Hall officials back Park City-Salt Lake City bus route

City Hall officials say they are excited about the prospect of a bus route connecting Old Town to downtown Salt Lake City.

At Thursday’s City Council meeting, Park City Transportation Manager Kent Cashel provided an overview of the ongoing discussions between City Hall, Summit County and the Utah Transit Authority.

The commuter route may provide bus service between the Old Town Transit Center and the Salt Lake City Central Station.

"From there you could go to Ogden," Cashel said. "You could go almost anywhere on transit You’ve got light rail spreading out in all directions in the valley."

The express route would travel through Parleys Canyon along Interstate 80. In the Park City area, stops could include The Canyons, Kimball Junction and the park-and-ride lot in Jeremy Ranch. Stops in Salt Lake City could include Rice-Eccles Stadium and several downtown locations along 200 South.

"I think it’s great and I think we should move forward," Park City Councilwoman Liza Simpson said.

City Hall is flooded with requests for the bus service whenever the price of gasoline increases, Simpson said.

Park City Councilman Alex Butwinski said he also supports moving ahead with the discussion.

"We conducted a survey of county residents," Cashel said. "People were interested in having this service."

Depending on the schedule and type of buses, operating the route each year could cost between $1.8 million and $5.2 million. Capital costs for the new route could range from about $3.3 million to $80 million.

The Utah Transit Authority, City Hall and Summit County would split those costs, Cashel said.

"It is an expensive service to operate," he said.

City Hall has roughly $500,000 available in its transit budget to help fund its share of the costs, according to Cashel.

Reducing bus service along State Road 224 could free up more funding and assistance may be provided by the Federal Transit Administration.

"It is financially viable," Cashel said. "It is more just a policy decision Is this where we want to redistribute our resources?"

Officials expect the Park City-Salt Lake City route to serve between roughly 1,190 and 3,656 passengers per day, depending on the equipment and frequency of the stops.

"There is a strong growth pattern of employment going both directions along (Interstate) 80," Cashel said. "There are as many people heading down the canyon as there are coming up."

He expects the service to attract commuters, students and passengers looking to ski, shop or attend special events

"There is a broad spectrum of ridership there," Cashel said. "This is a benefit to the city, county and Salt Lake in a big way."

Bus passengers would be charged a fare, Cashel added.

The route would likely utilize either enhanced buses or the considerably more expensive "bus rapid transit."

"[Enhanced buses] will be comfortable for a long ride," Cashel said.

Bus rapid transit more closely resembles light rail, he added.

Staffers will likely complete a study of the proposed route and present a final recommendation to the City Council in 2011 as part of a short range transit development plan.

"This is a service that there is demand for," Cashel said.


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