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Bus Service Up Cottonwood Canyons, UT Significantly Increased and Improved this Year

SnowBrains | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Utah, bus,
Utah ski bus. Credit: CWC

Working together with member jurisdictions, ski resorts, Save Our Canyons, and Wasatch Backcountry Alliance, the Central Wasatch Commission and the Utah Transit Authority are increasing ski bus service for the 2019/2020 ski season to more efficiently serve Utahns and visitors as they travel to recreate at Brighton Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, Alta Ski Area, or Snowbird.

Starting November 23, 2019, UTA’s Cottonwood Canyon ski bus will be speeding up service and adding more trips to Snowbird, Alta Ski Area, Solitude Mountain Resort, and Brighton Resort. The public can anticipate the following improvements:

  • A 26 percent increase in trips on Route 953 (to Snowbird and Alta Ski Area) thanks to funding provided by the Central Wasatch Commission.
  • A 28 percent increase in trips on Route 972 (to Solitude Mountain Resort and Brighton Resort) to 79 trips per day, up from between 61 and 65 on various days now.
  • Route 972 (to Solitude Mountain Resort and Brighton Resort) will no longer serve the Bingham Junction Station on the TRAX Red Line, due to high traffic congestion which causes delays for ski bus riders. Riders are encouraged to use the Midvale Fort Union Station on the TRAX Blue Line.
  • Route 953 and Route 994 (to Snowbird and Alta Ski Area) will no longer serve the park and ride lot at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon, due to traffic congestion which causes significant delays. Bus riders are encouraged to use the park and ride lot located at 9400 South 2000 East. The Little Cottonwood Canyon Park & Ride lot will now be reserved for people carpooling.
  • To increase efficiency and capacity for more riders, the ski racks will be removed on Routes 953, 972 & 994. Riders are advised to hold their ski gear while riding the bus.

“This increase to the ski bus service for the 2019/2020 season shows what can happen when governments and community leaders work together,” said CWC Chair Chris McCandless. “The Central Wasatch Commission hopes the improved service will be a step towards fast, reliable, and sustainable transportation while allowing skiers more time on the famous Utah snow. The Central Wasatch Commission appreciates working with our Commission members, UTA, and private parties to bring about this exciting change.”

Wasatch, traffic
Traffic is one of the biggest concerns on those who adventure in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Image: Ascent Backcountry/ Andrew McLean

Riders will now have more trips available and more space inside the bus, with fewer stops slowing down the ride. UTA estimates that by removing the ski racks from inside the ski buses, more people can ride the bus, and removing the highly congested bus stops at the Bingham Junction TRAX station and the Little Cottonwood Canyon Park & Ride will speed up the ski bus service for riders.

“UTA is excited to partner with the Central Wasatch Commission, county and city officials to help improve transit service and reduce traffic in the Cottonwood Canyons. We are excited to improve ski bus service to our riders this season with more bus trips, more seat space and faster travel times,” said UTA Board Chair Carlton Christensen. “We want to thank the CWC for providing the funding to allow us to get more skiers up the slopes quicker, and we appreciate all the partners for their diligent work in seeking solutions to improve transportation in the Cottonwood Canyons.”

These changes are a direct result of funding from local jurisdictions, non-profit organizations, and the ski resorts, and will coincide with the resorts opening day on November 23, 2019. This is a reflection of the community addressing service gaps to better serve more skiers and reduce traffic congestion.

The 2019/2020 ski bus service increase will continue during subsequent ski seasons, with UTA absorbing the new changes into its regularly provided service, meaning that faster, more reliable, and convenient ski bus service for the Cottonwood Canyons is the new norm.

In an additional effort to curb traffic congestion, all four Cottonwood Canyon ski resorts are participating in the R.I.D.E (Reducing Individual Driving for the Environment) app for the 2019/2020 ski season. The R.I.D.E. carpool program encourages skiers to take the UTA ski bus or carpool with 3 or more people to any of the four Cottonwood Canyon ski resorts and rewards users with points redeemed for prizes. Season pass holders to any of the ski resorts in the Cottonwood Canyons are able to ride the ski bus free of charge.


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