For the week of December 2 thru December 8, 1998  

Park & Ride bus cut from service


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

KART, cornerstone of free Ketchum and Sun Valley public transportation and supplier of Warm Springs skier business, has been forced to cut the Park and Ride bus that traveled to the Warm Springs base area from Saddle Road.

The Park and Ride lot, the main parking area for skiers using the Warm Springs base to access the Bald Mountain ski area, will remain, however, a regular stop on KART’s bus routes.

The elimination of the Park and Ride service is a result of federal funding cuts, amounting to more than $100,000 during the past five years.

According to KART manager Terry Crawford, the program received more than $160,000 in 1993. This year KART will received $67,000.

KART gains funding through a grant from the Federal Transit Administration. The funding is first appropriated by Congress to states based on population numbers and the state, in turn, allocates the money within set districts.

Ketchum and Sun Valley are part of District Four, which includes Twin Falls and the Wood River Valley. District Four is receiving 17 percent of the state’s funding this year.

"In order to stay at the level we were at five or six years ago, we have to make cuts in service capacities," Crawford said.

Hours of daily operation have been reduced over the past several years. Buses have been discontinued rather than repaired. One full-time employee’s job was cut and another full-time job will probably be cut this spring, Crawford said.

The reason for the federal cuts, Crawford said, is new criteria the government has begun to implement. The formula formerly used to determine funding took into account an area’s population and bus ridership, service hours and miles driven.

The newly adopted system bases funding on population count only.

And now KART’s peril is becoming even more uncertain as bus riders and funding decline.

"Ridership is declining and the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley, which also aid in funding KART, are less inclined to offer financial assistance," Crawford said.

The bus that serviced the Park and Ride will now be an additional link to Warm Springs, increasing bus frequency to one every 15 minutes.

 

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