Summit County’s microtransit minivans set to launch on Monday
Officials hope on-demand rides will offer better, faster service
A fleet of nine minivans are set to hit the streets in the Snyderville Basin at 10 a.m. Monday, the first time Summit County’s new High Valley Transit District will offer rides to members of the public.
The minivans are part of a microtransit service officials call “Micro” that will allow users to hail on-demand rides using an app, similar to ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft, but without the cost. The app launched this week and can be found in app stores by searching High Valley Transit and selecting the option with a purple logo featuring illustrated mountains and the moon.
The service is set to run from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. each day, and rides can also be requested by calling 435-246-1538.
This is the first of three rollouts, with Americans with Disabilities Act-mandated paratransit service planned to begin in mid-June and the full takeover of fixed bus routes in the Basin planned to start July 1.
Officials hope the microtransit system will provide faster service for more customers than are served by Park City Transit’s fixed routes. Some residents have expressed skepticism of microtransit and questioned the minivan system’s ability to carry as many passengers as full-size buses. Residents of the Silver Springs neighborhood, in particular, have been frustrated with what they see as a loss of service with the plan to stop the 7 Pink line this summer.
High Valley Transit’s microtransit system is to be offered in much of western Summit County and the Snyderville Basin, including the neighborhoods of Summit Park, Jeremy Ranch, Trailside, lower Silver Creek and Silver Springs.
Riders will be taken to their destinations or to a fixed bus route stop to connect to the broader system. Officials have said the system is designed to integrate with the existing Park City system, so that riders can travel seamlessly to destinations inside city limits and that they will only be taken to a bus stop in time to catch a bus that is close by.
According to budget documents discussed at a High Valley Transit meeting Thursday, the district is paying consultant Via Transportation and its subsidiaries $2.3 million for the microtransit system and $7 million for the fixed route buses. The district is predicting an $11.8 million operating budget and $2.4 million in capital expenses, including nearly $1 million for two buses and $1.5 million earmarked to construct a transit facility on county-owned land in Silver Summit.
“My hope is that the emphasis is on protecting the environmental and wildlife qualities. What they’re trying to buy and what they have optioned is basically a wildlife refuge,” Leslie Miller said.
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