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An Interesting Idea from Summit County on Transportation

Last week I had the chance to sit down with Summit County’s person in charge of transportation, Caroline Ferris. One of the issues we discussed was buses. I mentioned that one of the impediments I see with regard to adoption is that often people either need to walk a long way or would need to drive, park, wait, and then catch the bus.

Ms. Ferris offered a solution to that problem. She said that the city and county were looking into a shuttle service that could be scheduled to pick you up from your home and drop you off at a bus stop in time to catch the bus. Here is how it would likely work… Let’s say you want to take the 7:30 AM bus from Pinebrook to Prospector. You’d use an app and tell the bus service that you wanted to be on that 7:30 bus. They’d then schedule a van to come pick you (and others) up and transport you to the bus stop by 7:30. Of course, you may need to get picked up at 7:10, so that the van could service other people as well.

I said to Ms. Ferris that this process must be complex from a scheduling standpoint. She said that it wasn’t actually that hard. She said that the Park City Transit software currently had much of that capability built into the program and they were looking to find an area to pilot this type of program.

I personally think it would solve one of two big impediments to bus ridership, the last mile to people’s homes. The other of course, is ensuring that bus trips don’t take too much longer than a car. If it takes an hour to get from Pinebrook to Prospector, you can’t assume many people will take that option. However, if you can get to Prospector in 30 minutes or to Canyons (from Pinebrook) in 20 minutes, people would likely do it.

In speaking with a few other citizens about this, they bring up some of the negatives, of course. Having vans circulating through neighborhoods isn’t exactly “green” and there is a cost to ensuring that everyone who wants to schedule a pickup CAN schedule a pickup. Yet, it’s an interesting idea.

If the city and county could really pull this off, I think it would be a great test of whether locals want to take buses at all. The ride would be free. You’d be picked up at your door. About your only excuse left for not riding buses… is that you don’t want to ride a bus.

I like this sort of innovative thinking, though. In the long run, the only way we’ll really know if it will work is to try it. So, I hope Park City Transit pilots this soon. I hope they pilot it in an area like Park Meadows, which seems to get a lot of bus usage (the trips are shorter). If it works there, I’d like to see an expanded pilot into the “burbs.”

Regardless of whether this plan is ultimately successful, it shows that our transit officials are thinking outside the box. That is definitely a good thing.

 

Comments

4 Comments

Avatar
Ellen

Not sure I see this working. It will take two busses to get to where you’re going (one shuttle and one bus). That’s too much work for most people. I’m a big bus goer. If it takes two busses to get to my destination, I’ll drive instead. For those people who don’t want to ride the bus, this will still take too much time and effort. I like the idea of thinking outside the box too, and a test area would be great…I’d LOVE the city to prove me wrong. Oh, and I ride the Green bus, which is the Park Meadows bus, and quite often I’m the only one on there. We don’t get a lot of ridership at all.

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Melissa Band

Not sure if you saw this article, but yet another interesting idea…. I have to say, I’ve never waited more than 5 minutes for an Uber in Park City!
http://fortune.com/2016/03/03/uber-subsidy-public-transportation/

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Walt

Yeah, I don’t see that working. Picking someone up at their house will take significant time and if you want to pick up multiple people… suddenly it’s going to take an hour to get downtown from Jeremy.

My biggest reason for not riding the bus much is that the Pink doodles around *forever* in Kimball and Silver Springs. If it just drove down Kilby and then 224 with periodic stops, it’d be almost as fast as driving to PCMR. As it stands it’s basically an hour – not worth it. I don’t mind a 5 minute bike ride or quick walk to get to the bus stop. What I do mind is when I’m on the bus and it’s driving in circles.

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Ellen

Pink doodles forever…so true! Maybe more express busses? Especially from the Kimball area. The Brown is supposed to be express, but it still has to stop anywhere there’s a bus stop. Yawn…


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