Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Rideshare, PEAK/KART merger on pace

Move designed to enhance public transportation

Express Staff Writer

Wood River Rideshare, KART and PEAK are all on pace to merge by May, a move that would go a long ways toward consolidating public transportation in the Wood River Valley and beyond.

"It's going along well, very well," Rideshare Executive Director Jason Miller told the Blaine County Commission during a Rideshare update Tuesday morning. "We're probably two months away from really making this happen."

Miller said the merger is reflective of the goals shared by all the entities as well as Blaine County to enhance regional transportation and planning. Rideshare currently offers van-pooling services to the Wood River Valley from Carey and Twin Falls/Shoshone.

"Everyone is really excited about this and there's a lot of momentum behind this," Miller added.

The new name of the organization following the merger will be decided via a "community challenge" during the first two weeks of April.

Miller said the van pool operation is in high demand in Twin Falls and Shoshone, but has had trouble drawing interest in Carey.

"The Carey van is slowly growing, we're slowly adding riders," he said.

Blaine County Clerk Jolynn Drage said the reason Carey's numbers are low is due to the fact the passengers who work in Hailey have to lengthen their days to accommodate for the Ketchum passengers. Hailey workers are dropped off at work a half-hour early and picked up a half hour after their days end.

"That's a very large factor," Drage said.

"The big challenge with the van pool is picking a time that will work for enough work schedules," Miller said.

But he added that the van pool is just the beginning and the overall goal is offering a number of different transportation alternatives under one umbrella, which will be fostered by the PEAK/KART merger.

KART, which provides bus service throughout Ketchum and Sun Valley, recently merged with PEAK, which provides a commuter bus service up and down the Wood River Valley.

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