Guest Editorial, June 27-29, 2012 | ParkRecord.com

Guest Editorial, June 27-29, 2012

Zachary Haskins, Cooper City, Fla.

Transportation is important for both our infrastructure and economy. Given that a major industry is tourism, residents and visitors need a reliable and convenient schedule to travel amongst the region and country as the current system in place is inadequate and insufficient.

First, let us examine the present bus schedule. There are a limited hours of operation for our free bus service opening up around seven in the morning until about ten at night. This prevents commuters, residents and out-of-towners from getting around our town in early mornings or late evenings. When sporting events, concerts, outings, work shifts, nightlife, conventions and other interesting developments may take place after hours in our resort, why inconvenience the commuter by having to resort to carpool, driving oneself, or taxi? In turn, this increases spending more than necessary on parking, gas or cab fares when the city transportation could extend its hours even for an after-hours surcharge, which may be affordable and fair if cost is an issue for the transit system.

I call on Park City Transit to consider revisiting the schedule to coordinate nights and early-morning commutes to work or school while ensuring people ride it more often (through publicity, demographic surveys, incentives). The budget, logistics, convenience and efficiency may be factored in this request, maybe even redrawing the routes and transit maps, collaborating with experts for cost reduction and fuel efficiency.

Carpooling and owning a vehicle might not be an option for some people, and bikes are not much better especially when time or appearance is an issue. So Park City buses should run in early mornings as well as evenings after ten, especially on weekends people might be out and about in Main Street or hanging out at Redstone; the buses end earlier than desired and evenings are cut short or taxis are called, both which are a hassle, financial burden and inconvenience. If there is a concern for the budget of our bus shuttles, since they operate based on a tangible service fee and not on fare, then either the board should issue a fare for after hours, seek subsidy from our government representatives, or increase the service charge.

Secondly, the train system stopped running in Park City quite some time ago. Ogden, Provo, and Salt Lake City have one (sponsored by Amtrak), but we do not. We should have ours reinstated. It is important for commerce, tourism, and the transportation needs of our residents and visitors. By working with Amtrak (or other train companies), Utah Department of Transportation and our own city council, we could bring back the trains to our town for local, state and/or domestic travel.

If turnout or cost is an issue, because of our small population or fiscal conservativeness, consider the tourists, business visitors and students that could use the train stop for their personal, academic or professional needs (without having to transfer to or from a nearby town).

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Our country was idolized in the early days of the romantic and nostalgic railway system, trains transporting passengers and cargo from one point to another, for business or pleasure, regardless of the class or time. Even though we are a small town, our development in industry, commerce and tourism are important and we should be pinpointed in the train system. Just like with our buses, this initiative may be affordable and convenient:

  • We can have the train stop by Park City on a case-to-case basis if there are enough passengers that sign up.

  • We can study demographic surveys and trends to find out who uses trains, under what circumstances, and how to best market for a steady or seasonal turnout.
  • We can request the county, state or federal governments to subsidize the costs involved for construction, operations and maintenance for reviving a train station and making it less expensive.

    Guest editorial

    Park Record Zachary Haskins

    6/15/2012