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Park City to research new bus routes to replace micro transit service

A micro transit van picking up a rider.
High Valley Transit
A micro transit van picking up a rider.

Micro transit service in Park City limits will end in mid-April. The city council didn’t support continuing the service.

Since July, Park City has run a pilot micro transit program, a free ride-hailing service that also operates in the Snyderville Basin and Heber Valley.

At its meeting on Thursday, the city council chose not to renew its $1.5 million contract with High Valley Transit, which expires April 14. The council cited multiple reasons for the decision.

The city brought on micro transit to reach so-called public transit “deserts,” but 90% of ride requests this past winter originated in areas close to fixed-route bus service.

Transportation director Tim Sanderson said wait times were inconsistent.

“Sometimes it can be two minutes, but 18% of the time, it’s 30 to 45 minutes,” Sanderson said. “10% of the time it’s 45 to 60 minutes.”

Park City Council Member Bill Ciraco said he met an Aspen Springs resident who frequently used micro transit to go to dinner at the Park Meadows Country Club.

“This is not someone who needs micro transit service,” Ciraco said. “He can easily get an Uber or a taxi himself.” 

The council advised the transportation department to look at developing new bus routes to underserved areas as a replacement for micro.

During a public hearing, resident Katherine Fagin said Park Meadows is in desperate need of more public transit connections.

“There are something to the order of 900 full-time households in Park Meadows, and the kids go to after school activities, the people work, they shop,” Fagin said. “The only way to get around is to drive a car.” 

On Thursday Sanderson presented an initial concept for three new bus routes, reaching Quinn’s Junction, upper Park Meadows, and Royal Street in Deer Valley.

Racquet Club Condos resident and taxi driver Luci Susnowski said the city should partner with local cab companies to fill any other needs.

“Why are we giving free cab rides, free service, for people to go out and party on Main Street? When there are five bus stops… within a five to eight minute walk,” Susnowski said. “It doesn’t make any sense. It’s my tax dollars paying to put me out of business.”

Park City Mayor Nann Worel and council members expressed interest in working to partner with local taxi companies in some form.

The last day of Park City’s micro transit service will be Sunday, April 14.