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High Valley Transit may run emergency Salt Lake buses this winter

PC SLC.JPEG
Lisa Baird
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The PC-SLC Connect bus route, which delivers people between Kimball Junction and Salt Lake City weekday mornings and evenings, is set to change December 11.

There could soon be a new bus route between Kimball Junction and Salt Lake City — possibly even in time to prevent commuters from having to make major changes to their routines.

Commuters who ride Salt Lake City buses to and from Park City have said a route change will soon change their lives, and not in a good way. Now, a Summit County transit service may step in to help.

Starting December 11, the PC-SLC Connect bus will reduce its service in the Salt Lake Valley to one stop, which has prompted High Valley Transit to consider picking up the slack.

The major reduction to the long-running bus service is due to a driver shortage.

High Valley Transit provides free buses and on-demand shuttles in Summit and Wasatch counties. Executive Director Caroline Rodriguez told KPCW its board will discuss expanding into Salt Lake City next month.

“The board will consider an emergency stop-gap measure to put in place a route from Kimball Junction to downtown via the university area," she said. "Essentially, what this route would do is replace the cuts that UTA made that were announced a few weeks ago.”

She said nothing is confirmed ahead of the board meeting. She also said High Valley staff have received pushback from the Utah Transit Authority, or UTA, about High Valley using its stops in Salt Lake City.

But if the agencies work out details, the idea is for High Valley to serve those who currently rely on UTA’s morning and afternoon buses and are at risk of losing transportation.

“We're still working on the time, because everything is moving very fast with this service, but we're trying to implement 3 [morning] and 3 p.m. peak commuter routes between downtown Salt Lake and Kimball Junction, so that all those folks going from all the downtown stops at the university area do not lose service.”

The board of trustees meets Thursday at 1 p.m. Rodriguez encouraged anyone interested to tune in online.

The potential Salt Lake City route is scheduled as a discussion about whether to contract with Snow Country Limo. That’s a third-party driving service that would provide a 28-passenger motor coach and drivers.

The meeting agenda, which includes a link to view the meeting online, is available here.

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.
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