Guest editorial: Parkites must get on board with public transit efforts
Summit County/Park City officials and transportation personnel continue to work tirelessly in their efforts to meet our critical public transportation and zero-footprint goals. They have made several recent improvements geared toward making it even easier for us to ride the bus. We have more E-buses with free WiFi, extended routes and express routes, a new park-and-ride lot in a key location, and digital real-time scheduling signage at some stops. As always, whether or not our bus system has the positive environmental impact it’s been designed to have depends largely on the choices each of us makes regarding how we travel throughout the county. Can more of us choose to travel by bus — sometimes?
I am a regular bus rider out of Kimball Junction. Except for events, there are usually very few riders on board — sometimes only two or three. That means 40- to 45-foot buses are traveling on our roads carrying the number of people who could travel in a car or two. Are we satisfied with our individual riding behavior knowing this? Can more of us travel by bus — sometimes?
After having had several discussions with transit folks and county councilors, I will tell you emphatically: They are ALL “on board.” They listen and respond to my ideas. They answer my questions. I have learned a lot. I feel I am doing my part in a small way by sharing here some of the things that can make bus travel easier.
We are a community of outdoor enthusiasts. As such, think of getting to bus stops as “urban hiking/biking,” bus stops as “urban trailheads” and walk or ride a bike to a bus stop. How far do you walk or ride anyway? For many, I know it is much further than the distance to an “urban trailhead.” The community benefits as you hike or bike to a bus stop. Let city and county officials know you would like lighted bus shelters at the stops you use; that you would like bike racks and perhaps some legal street parking adjacent to stops. Tell the public transit people you would like every stop announced on the bus, even flag stops. It should never happen that guests and new riders to a route discover their stop has passed them by. Load the My Stop app on your phone and get good at using it. It’s a wonderful real-time scheduling tool that makes bus travel faster. Look at the digital real-time signs at some bus stops, which let you know how long it will be before different colored buses are due. Remember, technology occasionally fails us; but know these tools nearly always work. If you’ve had a bad experience riding the bus, try riding it again to make it work for you. Don’t complain about looking and paying for parking in Old Town. Instead, ride a bus to the Old Town transit center — it’s fast, free and easy. Know how long a bus trip will take you and plan accordingly. If you ride the bus to an event, know buses will fill up or overfill so plan to get to the event early and relax before the crowds arrive. If you drive, combine stops and deal with your heavy loads.
City and county leaders are constantly making decisions about how to spend our tax dollars. They are committed to making public transit improvements and operating in environmentally
sustainable ways. Through their efforts, we can be a national public transportation model. I believe we would all like to be a part of that. In your own way or ways, please get “on board.”
“If you cannot love your neighbor as yourself, no matter who they are, start by looking in the mirror and see what changes need to be made from within.”