Park City considers free car rides as traffic-fighting measure
Service would take people from point to point in area at no cost
There may be another free ride in Park City in addition to the buses.
City Hall is considering offering a transit service that would take someone from point to point for free. The municipal government has published a document known as a request for proposals outlining the service. It would complement the free bus system, which shuttles people from one bus stop to another rather than from point to point like the transit service described by City Hall. Proposals are due Friday.
The documentation indicates officials want to start the service in the summer for a one-year period with the option to extend for three years.
It would be an on-demand service that City Hall sees as using cars that run on electricity or cars that are hybrids or those with zero or low emissions. Electric cars are friendlier to the environment than those that run on gasoline. Cutting emissions is a key goal of City Hall, and employing a service with cars running on electricity would be seen as advancing the efforts. The municipal bus fleet also runs on cleaner-burning energies.
The documentation, posted on the City Hall website, describes a base bid that involves a service along Main Street and surrounding Old Town. Trips must start in Old Town under the base service. There are four other bid options fanning out from Old Town to other Park City neighborhoods and into the Snyderville Basin.
City Hall wants the service to run every day from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. with a starting time of 7:30 a.m. during the ski season. Drivers would be dispatched through an app system.
Alfred Knotts, the transportation planning manager at City Hall, said the service could be a transit option into neighborhoods where there are not enough passengers for a full-size bus carrying approximately 60 people. He said a service would provide an alternative to someone driving their own vehicle.
The documentation, meanwhile, indicates City Hall and the County Courthouse see transportation using electric cars as reducing traffic in the Old Town core.
“This program is being tested as part of a larger effort to reduce traffic, alleviate parking demand in and around Main Street and Kimball Junction, improve air quality, eliminate barriers to transit access, and enhance the greater Park City experience and quality of life,” the documentation also says.
The request for proposals has not been widely publicized. It seems likely there will be keen interest by the area’s taxi and shuttle companies as City Hall moves forward. The transportation companies could eventually worry about competition from a service that is free and provides rides to some of the popular destinations in the Park City area. A service along Main Street could be especially worrisome to the companies since there is heavy business for them on the shopping, dining and entertainment strip.
Knotts, though, said the service will provide an option for shorter tips that the taxis and shuttles do not typically want to drive. He also said transportation companies could submit a proposal.
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A group of Park City residents on Monday night criticized the prospects of City Hall developing a workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town. The people at a Marsac Building event raised a range of issues.