Express bus launched for far-flung skiers at PCMR
A new bus line linking Park City Mountain Resort’s two base areas as well as the Main Street core recently debuted with little publicity, a route that is meant to offer a transit option for skiers and snowboarders who end the day in a far-flung location from where they started.
The line was described in a report submitted to Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council in anticipation of a meeting on Thursday. The elected officials are scheduled to receive a briefing at the meeting, which is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at the Marsac Building. It is not known whether the elected officials will discuss the topic in any depth at the meeting.
Blake Fonnesbeck, the transit and public works director, drafted the two-page report. The line launched on Dec. 4, as the transit system began its winter routes. The route links the Old Town transit center, the Resort Center and Canyons Village. According to the report, it is an express service that starts running at 3:25 p.m. and ends at midnight. It runs every 20 minutes. The line is part of the free bus system.
Vail Resorts plans to debut the expanded PCMR this month. The property will encompass the former terrain of PCMR and Canyons Resort. A gondola will link the two areas. It will be the largest mountain resort in the United States as measured by acreage.
The report to the elected officials indicates transit officials were worried skiers and snowboarders would finish the day far away from where they parked. If someone who parked at the Resort Center ended the day at the Canyons Village or parked at Canyons Village and ended up at the Resort Center, it would take time and effort to get back to the vehicle, officials say.
"The concern is that a skier will park at one base, ride the gondola, ski the resort for the day, and end up at the opposite base as their car or hotel is located," the report says. "Without a change in transit service they could have either a long wait due to overcrowding of buses, take a taxi back to the other base, or have someone in their group go back and drive their car to pick up the group consequently adding more traffic into the mix."
Transit officials in Park City and Summit County worked with PCMR and the Resort Village Management Association, which involves property owners at Canyons Village, to start the route. The report describes the line as a pilot program. The line’s operations are priced at $156,000, the report says. It outlines a proportional cost sharing between the parties.
The line has not been widely publicized. The report says officials will brief hotel concierge desks about the route and PCMR will publicize the service.
The route is a new step as officials at City Hall, the County Courthouse and the private sector wrestle with widespread traffic concerns in Park City and the Snyderville Basin. S.R. 224, the primary route between the Resort Center base and Canyons Village, has long been one of the roads suffering from heavy traffic. Traffic is at its worst during the ski season, particularly in the afternoon as skiers and snowboarders leave for the day.
A bus line already runs along S.R. 224, stopping at Canyons Village after leaving Park City, but the express nature of the new line could be more attractive to skiers and snowboarders who need to travel between the two base areas. The existing bus line makes numerous stops between Canyons Village and Park City.
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Parkites see traffic and transportation as Park City’s biggest challenge over the next five to 10 years, a City Hall-hired firm that is leading the efforts to craft a community vision has found as part of its research. And they also see transportation solutions as one of the two top opportunities, alongside strategic development, during the same period, the research found.