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Park City Transit’s Dial-a-ride Program Could Get A Makeover

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Park City Transportation Director Alfred Knotts presented a pilot program to the Park City Council at their recent mid-year retreat. He calls it the “Quinn’s Neighborhood Connectivity Project.” Currently, Park City Transit’s dial-a-ride program runs on a fixed route from the Old Town Transit Center to the medical and recreational facilities out in Quinn’s Junction. Passengers schedule a ride at least two hours in advance, but it travels the same route, regardless of passengers. On average, it services 1.8 passengers per hour—at $35 per passenger. Knotts says it’s very inefficient.

“It's named a Dial-a-ride, but it runs no matter what," Knotts said. "So, it's on 15-minute headways. It runs from 8 in the morning until 9 o'clock in the evening, whether we're picking up somebody or not.”

The neighborhood connectivity project would still serve the medical and recreational areas in Quinn’s Junction, in addition to others, such as Park City Heights, the Christian Center of Park City and the Homestake lot. Riders could schedule a ride ahead of time or through an app, and the service would be on demand, not running unless scheduled. It’s a similar idea to a Lyft or Uber shared ride service, where drivers pick up multiple passengers headed in the same direction.

Knotts thinks the adjustment addresses the program through a social equity lens.

"The Park City Heights area—our biggest affordable housing or one of our primary affordable housing/attainable housing projects—is not really currently served by transit," Knotts said. "The county and the city feel that the medical area facilities out there are underserved, also, so this is an objective to look at a small window pilot project of how can we better serve this."

Knotts guesses the neighborhood connectivity project would improve the inefficiencies of the current dial-a-ride service, but it would likely be comparable in cost.                                

"Costs may not come down significantly because the driver is the primary cost of most of our services, so we still have to have a driver on," Knotts said. "But tailpipe emissions and emissions per passenger most likely will come down, and those are metrics that we'll identify prior to implementation."

The council directed Knotts to bring a more detailed proposal for the program to them at a later date.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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