© 2024 KPCW

Spencer F. Eccles Broadcast Center
PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley
Park City | UT | 84060
Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

Music & Artist Inquiries: music@kpcw.org
News Tips & Press Releases: news@kpcw.org
Volunteer Opportunities
General Inquiries: info@kpcw.org
Listen Like a Local Park City & Heber City Summit & Wasatch counties, Utah
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Longtime PC-SLC bus users call route change a disaster

The PC-SLC Connect bus route is set to change December 11.
Lisa Baird
The PC-SLC Connect bus route is set to change December 11.

Longtime commuters who use the Park City - Salt Lake City Connect bus say the new route scheduled to take effect in December does not work for them.

The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) recently announced a variety of route changes due to a shortage of bus drivers.

The 902 PC-SLC bus currently runs from Kimball Junction through the University of Utah all the way to downtown Salt Lake City.

Starting December 11, the bus will only make one stop in the Salt Lake Valley: the Olympus Cove park and ride in Millcreek.

Lisa Baird lives in Summit County and calls herself the “bus mom.” She’s ridden the PC-SLC since its inception in 2011 to her job at the University of Utah. Over the years she’s formed bonds with drivers and fellow riders.

She said she gives gifts to drivers when they change routes, and she sits in the front seat and offers help to substitute operators making the tough trip down Parleys Canyon.

“This is a huge blow for us riders,” Baird said.

While there are connecting buses like route #4 to the park and ride, she said she expects traffic on Foothill Drive will likely cause delays - making the full trip undoable.

“All of the U of U workers are going to drop off," she said.

"By far the majority, 90% of us, are just going to stop riding, which just breaks my heart cause we’re all doing the right thing. But it’s not tenable - to introduce these hurdles into the commute and ask people to put up with that on a daily basis.”

Baird has begun forming carpool groups for when the change comes in December.

“Basically I feel like the route change is bad for everyone," she said. "I can’t think of a single person it’s good for except UTA.”

Baird suggested two alternatives to UTA’s plan: she said the route could service the park and ride near the intersection of 2100 E and 2100 S just north of Sugarhouse Park, which offers better transit connections. Or it could maintain its current route while running fewer buses.

Frequent user Alek Konkol, a Sugarhouse resident who works at Skullcandy in Kimball Junction, also suggested moving to the park and ride at 2100 E.

Konkol, who doesn’t own a car, said the route change will at minimum double his commute time up to Summit County now that he has to take the 4 bus to reach the Park City Connect.

“I personally have built my life around being able to take this bus consistently," Konkol said.

"I lived downtown so I could take this bus. I chose the job in Park City because of this bus, because of this critical link. And it’s really quite unfortunate that that link is slowly degrading.”

Konkol anticipates delays, but said his job is flexible and it won’t be a problem. He said he feels for service workers whose jobs often require more punctuality.

“This move was actually quite surprising given how much the conversation in Salt Lake City has been around reducing traffic, providing alternative means, etc. And I know Park City has also been having those discussions,” he said.

KPCW spoke with several other Summit County residents who frequently use the bus route to get to the university or downtown. All said they plan to stop using it entirely once the change goes into place.

Summit County’s transportation arm, High Valley Transit, subsidizes two-thirds of the cost of the PC-SLC route. High Valley Transit Executive Director Caroline Rodriquez said that varies each month but generally runs between $50,000 and $90,000.

Despite High Valley’s contribution, UTA has full administrative control over the route.

UTA spokesman Carl Arky said they take all feedback seriously, but the agency is moving forward with the planned changes.

A schedule has not been released yet, but UTA plans to run the route more frequently and later into the night.