High Valley Transit District Reports Encouraging Early Ridership Numbers
The High Valley Transit Service District has been quietly rolling out service and is set to officially launch July 1. It celebrated with a virtual ceremony Thursday morning on June 24.
The Zoom event included some attendees appearing remotely and some via recorded message, but several representatives for High Valley still gathered in person at the Richins Services Building in Kimball Junction.
The District’s General Manager, Caroline Rodriguez, noted that High Valley offers several options for travel, all free to the public. She said the services include fixed bus routes with a high frequency; shuttles serving high-density and high-commercial areas; and micro-transit.
Among the comments, Joe Spink, vice-chair for the High Valley Board, talked about why he’s excited to see the new system.
“Reducing congestion. Access to the resorts, access to the trailheads and to the ski areas is a big deal,” Spink said. “Affordable transit is very important for our community. And an investment in the infrastructure, and I think there’s some exciting things that will come later that you’ll find out about.”
Later on, during the High Valley Board’s regular meeting, Rodriguez said they will be conducting a dry run for their buses on Monday.
“All of our buses are almost completely wrapped or painted,” she said. “All vehicles have passed the emissions and safety tests. We are training drivers daily. I don’t know if anybody has seen the large buses right out here at the transit center, but I saw some this morning. And then on Monday evening, we are going to start a full-scale dry run of the fixed-route service. And depending on what we hear from our driver supervisors, we might be soliciting volunteers to actually ride during the dry run Monday evening.”
The District’s micro-transit service started in mid-May. Rodriguez reported that the service has made 3,982 trips with over 5,200 passengers so far.
One local resident who has used micro-transit a lot is Chris Everett, who lives in Trailside. He said he’s already taken the system about 20 times.
“You don’t have to look for parking,” he said. “I believe in public transit, It’s a straight-to-your-door kind of service. And their vehicles are more gas efficient. And especially when you can combine rides, it’s just helpful in general in that way. My sense is I always public transit first, so I always High Valley first. So if I could never drive my car again, I would.”
Everett noted that mask mandates are still implemented in the vehicles. And he said as the system is getting more popular, it seems like wait times are getting longer.