Friday, April 23, 2010

Mountain Rides pursues routes to Magic Valley

Board looking at contracting service to private carrier


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Mountain Rides Transportation Authority is considering hiring a private carrier to provide daily commuter bus service between the Magic Valley and the Wood River Valley.

"If everything moves ahead, we're looking at late summer to launch it," Mountain Rides Executive Director Jason Miller said.

On Wednesday, the Mountain Rides board of directors approved preparing a request for proposals. Miller said a draft RFP will be prepared during the next month for consideration by the board at its May meeting. If approved, it would then be made available to interested private carriers.

Miller said the RFP process takes longer than simply advertising for bids, but gives Mountain Rides more control over quality of service rather than having to accept the lowest price.

"Price will also be a big part of it, but it won't be the only part," Miller said. "It will also be based on the ability of a provider to provide a quality service."

Miller said current plans are for two roundtrips daily Monday through Friday. One route would run from Twin Falls to the Wood River Valley and the other would originate in Shoshone.

Miller said Mountain Rides is considering contracting for the service because it has no buses suitable for long highway hauling.

He said a bus with passenger capacity of 40-50 is anticipated for the route originating in Twin Falls, while a smaller bus might be suitable for the route that starts in Shoshone.

Prices are expected be $10-$11 for a single trip. Monthly passes for regular riders will make the trip even cheaper.

"We anticipate it's going to be an affordable service," Miller said.

"We're excited about it. It's a big deal and that transportation corridor is going to keep growing. We anticipate a large demand."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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