Worker shuttle to SLC starts soon |

Worker shuttle to SLC starts soon

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

A private-sector transportation company, in what is believed to be the first of its kind shuttle route, plans to offer daily scheduled service between Salt Lake City and Park City during the ski season, an attempt to cater to the scores of people who live in Salt Lake but work in Park City.

Lewis Stages, an established firm, wants to start the service on Nov. 27 or Nov. 28, says Gordon Cummins, the owner. Some of the details, including the schedule, were not finalized by the end of the week and Cummins says that the times will depend on demand. The Park City Chamber/Bureau publicized routes and times at the middle of the week, though.

The service is seen as a potential landmark in the long-running attempt to reduce traffic in the Park City area, where people are increasingly complaining about the amount of cars on S.R. 224, the most popular entryway to Park City from Salt Lake City, and other streets.

"This will help take cars off the road," Cummins says.

There is not public transportation between Summit County and the Salt Lake Valley. The idea of such a public-bus route has been discussed on and off but officials have said that there are numerous obstacles.

Cummins says the route is spurred by the high cost of housing in the Park City area, where rent and house prices are generally higher than in the Salt Lake Valley. Worried about the housing costs in the Park City area, much of Park City’s workforce lives in the valley and commutes. Park City’s economy is booming and people in lots of different industries, from housekeeping to white-collar work, live in the Salt Lake Valley.

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Under the program, employers should contact Lewis Stages, 658-9714, and sign up for seats and times. Interested people must sign up through an employer. The roundtrip fare is $8, according to the Chamber/Bureau information.

According to a Chamber/Bureau release about the route:

( Morning service leaves from Salt Lake City at 9:15 a.m. from the TRAX station on 21st South and at 9:30 a.m. from 39th South and South Foothill Drive. The buses arrive in Summit County at 10 a.m. at Redstone and the travel to The Yarrow, at 10:15 a.m., and the Old Town transit center, at 10:30 a.m.

( Afternoon service leaves the Salt Lake locations at 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. and arrives at the Summit County stops starting at 3:15 p.m.

( Evening routes start in the Park City area at the transit center, at 7:30 p.m., and make stops at The Yarrow and Redstone minutes later. The routes drop people off at the Salt Lake City stops between 8:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

(A late-night service is scheduled to leave the transit center at 11 p.m., stop at The Yarrow five minutes later and then stop at Redstone at 11:15 p.m. The late-night route arrives at Foothill Drive at 11:45 p.m. and the 21st South TRAX station at midnight.

Cummins, who says the route is not receiving government subsidies, says the company wants about 40 riders using the service per trip. That figure makes the service viable, he says.

"We can’t run it back and forth with seven people," he says.

The Chamber/Bureau helped organize the route but is not assisting in its financing, says Bill Malone, the executive director of the Chamber/Bureau. He says the route is a test and says that the area’s ski resorts have offered their workers a similar service for years. Malone says it is tough to handicap the route’s success and is unsure if the buses will regularly carry 40 people.

"As an employee, it would save me the wear and tear on my car," Malone says.

But Violet Smit, the manager of the Park City and Heber offices of the state Department of Workforce Services, is unsure if the route will be successful. She says part of its success depends on if employers help their workers pay for the service. Smit says commuting to Park City typically is not a hassle for people who live in the Salt Lake Valley.

"Folks tend not to let commuting be a real issue," she says.