Buses to start rolling between Heber City and Park City in November
High Valley Transit District will be expanding to Wasatch County this winter with bus and microtransit service to begin as soon as November 13th.
High Valley Transit Executive Director Caroline Rodriguez says the plan is to have a fixed bus route between Heber City and Park City and add in microtransit zones to make sure those in Wasatch County can get a ride to jump on the bus at one of a handful of stops along Heber City’s Main St.
“It'll start at the Intermountain Hospital in Heber and just come all the way down 40 into town into Park City. And then from there, folks can connect, of course, to Park City Transit, or the 101 Spiro on the High Valley Transit side. The easiest way for folks to understand what their trip look trip is going to look like is to download the High Valley Transit app and we'll do all the trip planning for you. And then remember, if you have a second leg of your trip, that requires microtransit, that will already be booked for you while you're riding on the fixed route.”
Rodriguez says plenty more public information will be coming out about the new route in the next couple of weeks.
The Park City stops will include the hospital at Quinn’s Junction, near Park City High School and at the Park Ave. Fresh Market. Buses will not be going up to the Old Town Transit Center.
“And we did that because of the density of routes that hit the A Fresh. So essentially, wherever you're going to on the city side or on the county side, if you get to that A Fresh point, there's always going to be a very quick seamless transfer for you. And that was the best for us to deliver our customers. And then on the operational side, we're saving, you know, ten, 15, 20 minutes by just going to the A Fresh and turning right back around.”
What type of vehicles they’ll be using on the route she says will be determined by what kind they can get their hands on.
“At this point, we think it's going to be what we call mini-buses. So, they are buses, but they're smaller,” Rodriguez explained. “We are also looking for full-size 40-foot buses, but they are very, very hard to come by, especially on a quick turnaround. So, we'll see what we can do, but that the mini-buses are brand new 2022s, so they will be nicer than any 40- foot bus that we could find and put on the route immediately.”
The Wasatch County Council has approved the sales tax increase to pay for transit improvements, which is estimated to raise about $3 million every year. Wasatch County Manager Dustin Grabau says at its last meeting the council approved the fixed costs for microtransit and bus route between Heber and Park City which required a $300,00 payment up front. But a final agreement he says has not be fully executed.
“We expect to have that on the agenda this month for the Council for approval. We have been talking with the council and working with them on the terms of that agreement. It's a three-year agreement that would include both the fixed bus route and the microtransit within the Heber Valley. And I think right now the plan is to go with the November 13th launch, assuming that our council approves it, at its meeting soon.”
Microtransit service he says will be available throughout the Heber Valley.
“The plan is for it to cover basically the entirety of the Heber valley that would go up to the west side of Midway out to the east edge of the valley, and then as far south as Daniels Creek.
The plan is for year-round bus and microtransit service but will be limited based on available funding. Service hours for the fixed-bus route he says will be only for the morning and evening commutes with one bus an hour. Microtransit however will operate throughout the day.