High Valley Transit Says Afternoon and Evening Hours Have The Most Riders
High Valley Transit is the new, free public transportation service in Summit County. The ride share service started in late June, and the overall transit system with new bus routes started July first.
New numbers from the High Valley Transit service shows most riders use the service from one in the afternoon to seven in the evening, with five o’clock being the most popular time. 12,000 people used the microtransit service in July.
The service is like an Uber or Lyft, where you download a free app on your smart phone, and use it to order a minivan to take you where you want to go. The driver will either drop you off at your destination, or at the nearest bus stop, whichever is closest and most convenient based on how many requests the driver has at that time.
Summit County Councilman Roger Armstrong sits on the board of High Valley Transit. The board met August 12th to assess how the first weeks of the service have been going.
“The most popular destination is canyons village transit center and Kimball Junction and then it drops from there to Walmart WestGate the Olympic Park, Woodward is sixth down there was a time when Woodward was slamming it,” said Armstrong. ”That was… kids discovered they could take microtransit and have that freedom.”
Armstrong said the microtransit is also being used by some Elk Meadows residents. Elk Meadows is the affordable housing apartment complex next to Ecker Hill Junior High on Kilby Road.
“When I see Elk Meadows on the list that’s encouraging to me because it shows that some portion of the workforce is using this the way that we hoped that they would,” he said.
Armstrong said one of the biggest challenges the transit service faces is not enough drivers.
“If you look at the microtransit, I think we were promised 15 minute pickup times and I think it’s a little bit longer than that and the question I asked in terms of those delays seems to be related to labor,” Armstrong said. “It’s like every place else we’re looking to hire more bus drivers and transit drivers.”
And the biggest complaint the county has heard about the service, according to Armstrong, is still about the New York license plates on the microtransit vans. He says that’s an issue with the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles.
“That’s because we were in a rush to get vehicles in time to start in late June,” he said. “The company is based in NY. It took some time and now it’s just a function of getting through the registration system with the state. It’s been an issue just trying to get the vehicles registered so they will be changed over and as we get new vehicles in, obviously they will be registered here as well.”
In the High Valley Transit board meeting, Caroline Rodriguez was appointed Executive Director. Rodriguez told the board that on the morning of the 12th, a High Valley Transit bus was in an accident involving an elk on SR 224. No one was on the bus, the driver was not injured and the elk ran off, but the bus lost a windshield and will be out of service until it’s repaired.