Richardson Flat buses would run directly to resorts this winter in proposed Park City transit plan
The Park City Council is working to finalize the winter public transit schedule.
Both Deer Valley and Park City Mountain have offered to contribute $150,000 for direct bus service from the Richardson Flat park and ride near Quinn’s Junction.
Under the proposed plan, one bus would connect Richardson Flat to the Park City Mountain base area. A separate bus from Richardson Flat would run to Snow Park. Both would run every 20 minutes starting Dec. 10.
The city ran buses from Richardson Flat for the first time last year, and officials considered it a success based on ridership numbers.
A common criticism of last year’s route was there was no direct resort route. Riders had to go to the Old Town Transit Center first and take a second bus from there to the resorts.
The enhanced service plan for Richardson Flat would mean a budget shortfall of over $100,000, even with the two resort contributions.
Councilmembers recommended cutting the frequency or ending the service in April to lower the cost. The council will see options when the transit plan is finalized at its Oct. 26 meeting.
The city plans to run a bus from Richardson Flat to Old Town in the evenings as well.
The Blue and Green bus routes will also see changes this winter. They will both operate along the same route, servicing Park Meadows, Thaynes, and both resort bases, but they will run in opposite directions.
And the Orange and Purple buses, which service Silver Lake Village and the Montage, would run every 15 minutes instead on the half hours.
The transit department is making backup plans after electric bus manufacturer Proterra filed for bankruptcy in August. Park City operates 13 Proterra buses, and is now anticipating longer wait times for any needed maintenance.
“We do have a contingency plan," deputy city manager Sarah Pearce said. "The first step is that we have a number of spare buses that are available. So if a bus breaks down, we have a number of spares that are standing by ready to be deployed. The second, if we expend all of our spares, then we would start cutting in the order that we put in the staff report - that’s like very worst case scenario.”
Pearce said they’re also looking to rent additional buses, just in case.
The staff report shows buses on the 10 White would be cut first, followed by the 50 Teal, 5 Yellow, and 1 Red.
Another issue the transit department is dealing with is a 47% increase in avoidable accidents year-over-year. Transit manager Kim Fjeldsted said that was largely due to collisions with snow banks last winter. She said the department’s entire staff is receiving extra training to avoid the same issues this winter.