Throwing us under the bus

The Park Record published a laudatory article on High Valley Transit yet failed to address some major issues with the Wasatch Back transit program. The article does not address the cost and duplication of two taxpayer supported systems in the same area with overlapping services. It also fails in an environment of shocking tax bills to inform our community how much the buses and vans are costing us.

While most communities in North America have consolidated their transit systems under one government affiliated entity, Summit County and Park City decided to initiate two separate systems compelling the community to pay for two of everything: two maintenance facilities, two sets of management, two sets of support personnel and even two routes that run on basically the same corridor. How much extra is this costing the taxpayers of Summit County and Park City?

Summit County has also adopted a service called “micro-transit,” which is nothing more than a free taxi service. In most communities, families provide transportation for the underage family members and individuals who do not drive or they arrange for an Uber, Lyft or similar service to provide transportation. 

High Valley Transit provides the same service as a taxi, Lyft or Uber, and does it for free — well, free to the user but not to the taxpayers. How many times do we see empty micro vans driving around, and sometimes even within the city limits of Park City, where they have no business being? Why can’t people pay for the service, or in appropriate cases, obtain a low income credit?

The Park Record did not tell us how much the High Valley Transit boondoggle is costing the taxpayers. What is the operating loss of running those empty buses and micro vans? How much is it costing us to have a separate maintenance facility for buses in a tent and what steps are being taken to reduce environmental impacts from fuel and lubricants maintenance on permeable asphalt? 

Why has High Valley Transit taken over an area that was intended for parking and to actually reduce car trips into Park City and in effect made the parking area unavailable? 

Why is it advantageous to taxpayers to have two separate systems?

Though most times during the year we observe empty buses plying 224, a good, well organized transit system has many benefits to a resort community. There are some basics in place that if properly managed will provide the opportunity to reduce automobile traffic within the county. 

Though taxpayer money will be required to support any transit network, it is incumbent on both the county and city to take major steps to eliminate the duplication of costs and refine operating plans to properly reflect seasonal demands.

Thomas N. Jacobson

Park City

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