The transit district established in the Snyderville Basin is hitting the ground running.
It has a new name, is proposing new service-route improvements and is working to set itself up, eventually, as a district independent of Summit County.
The Board of Directors for the new High Valley Transit District has met twice so far in March. The chair of the panel, former Summit County Councilor Kim Carson, reported that the entity’s name was chosen because it works for the entire Wasatch Back.
At the last meeting on March 11, they got a presentation from their consulting firm, Via, on proposed route changes. One major change, Carson said, will combine the 6-Lime route and the 7-Pink into a connector from Jeremy Ranch all the way to Deer Valley.
Carson said the line would have a 15-minute frequency, year-round. The stops will still include the Park City Mountain Resort Base in Park City and the Old Town Transit Center. Their White Express on State Route 224 will still operate.
The new line won’t extend up into Summit Park or into Silver Springs. Carson said they intend to serve those areas with a new micro-transit, or on-demand, service similar to Uber or Lyft.
“Using an app, that’ll be kind of a one-stop shop,” she said. “They’ll be able to go in and plan their trip. They should get access to a micro-transit ride within 10 to 15—well, maybe up to 20 minutes—from the time they select a ride. And then that will take them to the line route to the main route, to the closest stop.”
Riders can call for the micro-transit from within a designated orange zone. That will include areas up into Jeremy Ranch or Summit Park, neighborhoods along S.R. 224 like Willow Creek, Silver Springs and Sun Peak, and the Park City Hospital area near Quinn’s Junction.
Carson herself lives in upper Silver Creek, outside of the orange zone, so she explained how she will access the service.
“I would change my pick-up location from my house, which would be outside the service area, to a spot within,” she said. “I could park my car at the mailboxes at the bottom of our neighborhood, and have that be my pick-up spot. And it would pick me up there, and then take me to the closest place where I could pick up a bus. Or if I have another location that’s my ultimate location, it may drop me off there if that’s closer.”
The service will utilize four-wheel-drive vans.
“With the micro-transit, we’ll have the flexibility to combine trips, and those vehicles can maneuver those roads where a full-sized bus, of course, couldn’t, and it would be much more expensive,” said Carson.
She added the new service won’t be a threat to Uber or Lyft business because the micro-transit won’t be a point-to-point service.
Among other changes, the Kimball Junction Circulator will extend to cover the residential areas along Bitner Road. And they hope that, by July, the Kamas Black route would include service to Francis and to the Hideout area.
Meanwhile, the Transit District Board is also working on policies and procedures and required legal agreements such as a formal agreement with Summit County for staff services.
The District’s general manager for now is Caroline Rodriguez, the county’s transportation director. She will direct the Via firm while also working closely with Summit County Manager Tom Fisher.
Carson said at their next meeting, the board will focus on High Valley Transit’s budget.
“So I can’t talk about per-ride costs,” she said. “But when you’re alleviating other routes—we’ve been able to put the pencil to this, and overall, to provide what we think will be improved service and reliability, our overall budget will be less than our current contract with Park City Transit.”