Guest editorial | ParkRecord.com

Guest editorial

Citizen survey opposes free taxi service, city should listen

Sam Rubin
Owner, Four Seasons Concierge

Thursday, June 29, the Park City Council will possibly approve a six-month pilot program to provide FREE transportation from the homes of those that live in a portion of Thaynes Canyon, Arie Mountain, Prospector, and Old Town to a nearby Park City Bus Stop in one of four Tesla Model X P100D vehicles, to increase the usage of the Bus System.

The service would only be available until 11 p.m. in the evenings, making it useless for the hundreds of hospitality employees that work near the Main Street area. The cost of the six-month pilot program will be $358,272 and be paid for from the City's Transit Fund.

It is important to note that during this "Pilot" those that live in the most densely occupied area of Park City, Park Meadows, will be excluded from the program. In addition, the City has yet to define any the "average number of daily rides", "average number of daily passengers," or other important metrics that will help to determine if this "Pilot" is a success or failure. More importantly, the company that will operate this program, has not provided the number of future Tesla Model X P100D vehicles that will be needed to roll out this program at scale or with what funds any future vehicles will be with — potentially leaving the City on the hook for a future multi-million-dollar investment.

Many with knowledge of this vote are flabbergasted that the City can even consider this expenditure without a way to measure the results.

The company that would be operating this program is based out of Florida and only has experience with this service in five other cities and uses Electric Golf Carts. The only other similar town that is using this program is Aspen, Colorado. The company recently terminated their relationship in the city of Boca Raton, FL, but has failed to inform Park City why this happened and any reassurance that the same would not happen here.

Members of the "For Hire Transportation" community have met a couple of times with members of the Transportation Planning and Transit Team to discuss alternatives, including a "Local" app (like that of Uber) that would use the existing licensed and commercial insured "For Hire" vehicles to provide cover for all of Park City for as little as less than 1 percent of the $357,272 amount the City is prepared to spend.

Recommended Stories For You

In addition, a recent Survey was posted online (https://t.e2ma.net/pages/15717/1840) that has had over 430 people provide their thoughts on this topic. The results of the survey show that 77 percent of those that responded would use a "Local App" more often than Uber or Lyft, if a portion of each fare was donated to a local non-profit (something that has been suggested and could easily be implemented).

Even though 73 percent are against the City spending $358,272 on this "Pilot" and that percentage increases to 79 percent when asked if that money should be spent on Tesla Model X P100D vehicles, and 81 percent when asked if they would support the "Pilot" knowing that only a portion of the City would be participating, the City Council could still possible vote to fund this "Pilot."

We encourage the public to attend the City Council Meeting on June 29th, starting at 6 p.m. to let the City Council know their thoughts on this proposal. In a City that encourages the residents to "think local" and support the local community, it would be a shame to further impact the "For Hire" community that wants to be a part of the solution at a fraction of the cost.