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New Ride On App Frees Up Resort Parking Spaces

Deer Valley Resort

Even with six sold out days so far this season, Deer Valley Resort has only had to use its overflow parking on four of those days - thanks in part to their employees’ efforts to carpool or ride the bus.

Deer Valley Resort is limited to about 12 days of overflow parking each season – when cars are allowed to park on Deer Valley Drive. While the resort had hoped to increase its allotment, the city council wouldn’t budge from what was agreed to - citing complaints from residents in the area.

Over the summer, the resort added more asphalt – creating an additional 90 parking spots in lot five – and provides more than 1,300 spaces in total in the five tiered lots.

What has really seemed to make the difference though are the employees who have embraced the new Ride On app. Victoria Schlaepfer, Deer Valley senior event  coordinator and transportation liaison, says Deer Valley, in partnership with Park City Municipal and Park City Mountain, helped subside the launch of the ride-sharing app this winter, which has helped incentivize employees to carpool or take the bus.

“We have around 350 employees signed up for that program  and we see about 100 people a day logging trips on that program to say that they carpooled or took transit,” Schlaepfer said. “We also know that there’s a lot of employees that are not using that program  but are still carpooling or taking transit every day, it’s just more of their habits so they haven’t logged on to  the program yet to log their trips.”

All employees, whether they’re driving alone or in a carpool are required to park in Lot 4. Those who take the bus get dropped off at the curb of Snow Park Lodge.

Since the start of the season, Schlaepfer says Deer Valley employees have logged 3,600 alternative trips representing nearly 40,000 miles NOT made by single occupant drivers. Employees who live within walking or biking distance she says can also count their rides and mileage.

And there are benefits for employees who participate in Ride On.

“Employees are logging their trips and for every trip that they log  they earn 25 points,” Schlaepfer said. “They can log two trips a day – so a trip to work and a trip home from work so for a total of 50 points a day and during those peak times – President’s weekend  coming up as well as weekends in March as well, we’re offering double points to employees so they can earn up to 100 points a day.  And then we have various tiers of point levels that they can redeem for various prizes.”

The prizes include gift cards to local restaurants and theaters, as well as clothing, googles and ski poles. Gifts can be redeemed with as few as 250 points, but many of the gifts require 2 to 3,000 points.

Carpool and transit mileage are figured by the app. For every trip people take, they log in to record if they have carpooled or taken transit.

“The system knows how long you’re driving – so what it does is, you put in your home address and then where you work and so it’s able to calculate through google maps how long that distance is and then it keeps all of those address private when you’re trying to find a carpooling matches,” she explained.

There is also a park and ride bus setting, so miles can be logged form where you pick up the bus. And the app makes finding a carpool group easy.  Schlaepfer says they can see that carpools have formed all over – in Salt Lake, Kamas and Heber.

The two resorts bought into the app with Park City– to see how it could work using the biggest employers in town…

“The great thing is we can add more employers into the program,” she said. “We just started with the big ones. As the app gains traction, any employer that is are interested can reach out to PCMC to see if they can sign onto the program.”

Individual users can also see what kind of an impact they’re making by carpooling or riding transit on their dashboard as the app shows the carbon offset employees have made.

At this point, no new employers – besides the original four – have signed up to participate in the program.

Tough but fair, Leslie is the woman most of Park City wakes up with every weekday morning. Leslie has been at KPCW since 1990 and her years at KPCW have given her depth and insight, guiding her as she asks local leaders and citizens the questions on everyone’s minds during the live interviews of the Local News Hour.
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