Bus Access Now Restricted to Six Bikes at a Time Starting This Summer
I love Park City’s transit system. While some people seek freedom in a car, true freedom comes from being able to get anywhere without having to lug a two-ton machine around with you everywhere you go. It’s one of the great things about this town, and what I miss most about living within the bounds of the transit route. Armed with just a bike and a bus schedule, you can comfortably get anywhere, even to Salt Lake and back, without breaking a sweat.
Park City Transit’s appeal isn’t limited to commuters, day trippers, or those looking for a ride back to the car the morning after, and the mountain bike community quickly caught on to the fact they could get a free 1,000 ft boost free-of-charge. “Bus laps” and “free shuttle” became common phrases in the Park City mountain bike vocabulary. How many towns could boast that their free transit system doubled as a mountain bike shuttle? It’s one of our favorite seasonal perks in the area, and one that we take advantage of throughout the summer, especially when showing guests around the trails.
Unfortunately though, earlier this month Park City Transit announced that it would be restricting bikes on board to a maximum of six, with three on the front rack and three inside the bus, and predictably, outrage quickly spread throughout social media. However, anyone who rode the purple bus on a weekend last year had to have seen the writing on the wall for this and it shouldn’t have came as much of a surprise. A bus full of untethered bikes could present potential safety hazards should passengers need to quickly evacuate the bus. Additionally, put yourself in the shoes of a non-biking passenger having to deal with a bus load of smelly, sweat and dirt crusted passengers with their bikes rolling about. Likely not a great experience.
Was this the best solution out there? Definitely not. Did Park City miss an opportunity to further establish the town as a mountain bike destination opting instead for a convenient solution? We think so. But here’s the thing, on the scale of first world problems, this ranks up there with having your J.Crew catalog wrinkled by the mailman. Yes, it’s disappointing news, but bitching and spewing hate towards the city on Facebook because they aren’t going to take you and more than five of your friends and your $3,000+ bikes up the mountain for free anymore just makes you out to look like a bunch of entitiled douchebags. Especially considering that, I’m guessing, not anyone who expressed their contempt at the new policy showed up to any of the “Help Us Plan for the Future” meetings held by Park City Transit in the past year. Despite popular belief, no one, not even the city, owes you shit.
Which is what this is really about. Armchair civics and policy discussion via Facebook is an epidemic. There is no shortage of “that trail sucks” or “Park City trails need this” attitude, but when you ask people to kick in a few bucks, donate their time, or show up for a goddam meeting once-in-a-while in support, there’s radio silence if not outright backlash.
So here’s your challenge, instead of adding to the excess of negativity and noise that is Facebook, how about getting off your ass/phone/computer and making an effort in real life. Park City Council meetings are always open to public input, and there’s a handy tool called the internet that makes them incredibly easy to find. I guarantee if you and enough of your fellow comrades can make a convincing argument in support of how the new policy could negatively effect summer mountain bike tourism (read: tax revenue), or how they could sell a separate bike access bus pass for riders, they’ll listen.
If you show up, voice your concern, and get shut down, then feel free to post away about the incredible injustices you face as a mountain biker in Park City. Until then, shut the fuck up about it.
Advocacy is a fairly new thing amongst the mountain bike community. I think we’ll see more and more folks getting involved.
I think we could do even more to raise awareness about these public meetings well in advance to get more bikers to show up. Anytime there is an important meeting scheduled regarding trail/bike policy it should be sprayed all over social media and posted at trailheads and bike shops etc….print flyers, hang em around town…get it in peoples faces. Specific time, date, and place, and why it matters that they show up. Get people excited.
I Agree with what you say too.
also can’t expect everyone to do their homework to dig through a website and find the meeting info…better to have a unified front, and the best way to do that is to make it as accessible to as many as possible.
Dumbfounding! Why would ANY mtn bikers need to show up to planning meetings about this subject?! Why is it NOT obvious to these so called planners, that the city and Chamber of Commerce, to say nothing of the local sport shops and ski resorts, hotel/accommodation industry, have already spent hundreds of thousands of $$$ promoting this hugely popular activity. At risk of sounding just plain offensive, someone responsible for this decision needs to grow a brain. I’m only a SLC resident, but they’ve convinced me that I no longer need to include PC for any of my recreational or social activities. BYE!
Last week I spoke with some of the guys who were part of the decision to limit busses to 6 bikes. They said the decision stemmed from complaints from drivers about busses packed with +20 bikes. The town council asked the drivers if they’d like bikes banned from the inside and the drivers didn’t feel that was necessary. The town does see the value in providing transport for riders (both local and tourists), though the gravity riders shuttling Empire and Raspberry does make them a bit nervous from a liability standpoint. They proposed using a short bus + bike trailer, but that idea got nixed. They don’t want to put trailers behind big busses. They are open to exploring other ways to carry more bikes on the outside of the bus. In short, this is a solvable problem. Or at least one where the busses could be carrying +10 bikes per lap.
I reached out to the owner of Kuat to explain the situation and ask if he had ideas, but his team is too busy to take on a custom design project. If anyone here has connection at North Shore racks or Recon Racks or want to fundraise $1000 for a custom rack or is just handy with a welding torch, it sounds like the city and bus drivers would be open to alternative rack configurations. There’s gotta be a way to put more than 3 bikes on the outside of a city bus.
“Why is it NOT obvious to these so called planners….”
Probably because they are not mountain bikers who use the buses to take shuttle laps.
“They said the decision stemmed from complaints from drivers about busses packed with +20 bikes.”
Seriously whyTF would the drivers care? The bus would be totally empty to maybe 3 non-bike passengers without mountain bikers. Drivers just need to turn around and watch the road. Jeesh. Sounds like the drivers are just pissed cause they have to deal with crowded busses all day….well thats the job you signed up for, YOU DRIVE A BUS, ITS PART OF YOUR JOB!
Anyways never had a problem with the drivers, they always seemed nice. Maybe they just need a hug. OK solution: Smile and hug your bus driver and thank them for the great job they are doing!! Sounds like we need a driver appreciation day. 🙂
I was at the transportation meeting last month and they weren’t talking about limiting busses to 6 bikes when I was there. There may have been something about it but it wasn’t obvious. I had showed up to put in my comments about needing more parking for transit centers (park n rides). So now we can’t park a car or bring a bike unless we are the first ones there.
On Monday we had 4 out of town friends visiting so we left a half hour early to catch an earlier bus so that they would have space… what a pain.