Start a ‘green’ habit — ride the bus
There is a significant shift taking place on some of Summit County’s busiest thoroughfares — public transit is picking up momentum.
According to Park City Transit statistics, local bus drivers picked up 1.7 million passengers last year and they are on track to raise that figure to 2 million this year.
That means there were 1.7 million fewer passengers driving around the city over the course of the year. It also suggests that there were more open parking spots in places like the ski areas, Old Town and Kimball Junction for those who did drive their own cars.
Much of the credit for the success of the current transit system is owed to a succession of Park City Councilmembers who were willing to invest in the system even before public transit was in vogue. They initiated the system as a way to shuttle visitors back and forth from their lodging to the ski slopes but found that it also provided a valuable service for employees. Then, despite the fact that ridership dropped dramatically when the ski areas shut down for the shoulder seasons, the city gradually expanded the schedule so that it is now counted on year round.
Local business owners largely shoulder the cost of running Park City’s bus system and, hopefully, they see a tangible return on their investment, both in terms of customers and efficient transportation for their employees. Recently, Summit County joined Park City by helping to support new routes to Kimball Junction and other Snyderville Basin destinations. That service is growing, too, with usage more than doubling in the last year.
In addition to the tangible benefits enjoyed by an increasing number of riders, the growth of the transit system also brings a number of less visible, but equally important, beneficial side effects. Fewer cars produce less air pollution and since the city switched its fleet to biodiesel fuel, the enviromental gains are even more significant.
Americans are just now getting serious about air pollution and global warming, but Park City leaders have been out in front of the movement toward energy conservation and clean fuels for almost 30 years.
Now, as citizens, it is our responsibility to get on the bus, literally and figuratively, and this is a perfect weekend to get started. Park the car, take advantage of the enhanced arts festival shuttles and consider yourself part of the solution to pollution and traffic congestion, rather than part of the problem.
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“Where will we get the water, sewage treatment, police, fire, city services, broadband capacity and green power? How will we stop the gridlock that will result from all this expansion?” asks Victor Janulaitis.