New free shuttle will help bridge the county’s East Side/West Side divide |

New free shuttle will help bridge the county’s East Side/West Side divide

The Park Record editorial, June 28-30, 2017

South Summit residents who work in Park City and need a respite from the orange-barrel obstacle course on State Road 248 should consider taking a free ride on Summit County’s new Kamas Commuter bus. The service started Monday and is already getting good reviews from weary road warriors.

The shuttle comes at an opportune time. A well-traveled 11-mile stretch of S.R. 248 from Quinn’s Junction toward Jordanelle is being resurfaced, a dusty, noisy process that requires funneling both east- and west-bound drivers onto one side of the highway. Unfortunately, the construction project coincides with the annual influx of summer vacation travelers towing all manner of camping- and sports-related equipment.

And the fun doesn’t end with the construction – for those headed from Kamas to jobs in Park City, there is still the challenge of finding parking near their places of employment. That promises to be especially daunting this coming Fourth of July holiday week.

But those who opt to ride rather than drive can read a book or catch up on their social media posts instead of trying to merge with unwieldy tanker trucks and other rushing-to-get-to-the-office commuters. There is also free wifi and riders can bring a bike along to use once they get to town.

So far, there are plenty of seats available on the 33-passenger bus that travels from the park-and-ride next to Volkers Bakery in Kamas to the Park City Hospital transfer stop. There riders can connect with a cutaway bus to Kimball Junction or ride on toward the Park City High School campus and the Old Town Transit Center.

On opening day, 19 passengers were adventurous enough to board the new service. But city and county transit administrators expect that number to grow as word of mouth spreads. There are also plans to offer riders prizes and various other incentives as employers recognize the benefits of having their employees arrive on time and well rested.

The Kamas/Park City shuttle is funded by last November’s voter-approved transit sales tax and is a positive step toward a more environmentally sustainable future for both sides of the county.

In addition to reducing vehicle emissions, saving riders’ gas money (about $12.50 per week), the availability of public transit has the potential to offer other less tangible benefits, too, including more mobility for teens who don’t have licenses and for seniors who may no longer drive on their own. The new Kamas Commuter may also lead to an enhanced sense of community as riders mix and mingle with new acquaintances instead of relying on their solitary commutes.

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