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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of July 23 - 29, 2003


Peak Bus reports
record ridership

June trip total sets new monthly high

"This service is a model for other rural resort communities facing the challenges of providing transit alternatives."

— AMY OSTRANDER, Transit consultant

Express Staff Writer

The Peak Bus, the Wood River Valley commuter bus operated by Wood River Rideshare, in June recorded its highest monthly ridership since its inception last year.

Finishing the month of June with a total of 2,208 passenger trips, the bus exceeded its previous record high ridership by 200 passengers. The previous record was established in August 2002.

"June was the one year anniversary of the Peak Bus, so it was quite appropriate that we reached a ridership milestone," said Beth Callister, executive director of Wood River Rideshare and manager of Peak Bus.

"Throughout the winter months, when we expected ridership to increase dramatically, ridership held at a steady rate. Summer is clearly the most popular time to ride."

Don Myers, the main driver of the Peak Bus, said he is "seeing more and more new faces, not just kids, but riders of all ages and using the bus for different reasons."

Peak Bus operators this week said the ridership and revenue figures for the program’s first year "demonstrate the high potential for the Wood River Valley’s start-up community transit service."

The Peak Bus farebox ratio—revenue per passenger trip divided by cost per passenger trip—is 34 percent, 14 percent above the 20 percent national average for transit programs, Wood River Rideshare reported.

Amy Ostrander, a consultant who conducted the transit portion of the 2001 Blaine County Public Transportation Feasibility Study, said the Peak Bus is meeting general expectations for a start-up transit service.

"Ridership is building and riders are supporting the service through the purchase of bus passes," Ostrander said. "This service is a model for other rural resort communities facing the challenges of providing transit alternatives."

The average annual cost to drive from Hailey to Ketchum is $2,750, based on cost per mile estimates from the American Automobile Association, Wood River Rideshare reported. Season passes on the commuter bus can be purchased for $200.

Despite the reported success of the Peak Bus—which receives financial support from city and county agencies—one Sun Valley official last week was critical of the program.

City Councilman Kevin Laird on Thursday, July 17, called the Peak Bus project a "runaway bureaucracy," before suggesting that the city reconsider allocating in its 2003-2004 budget $20,000 for the program.

However, an opposing majority of council members determined that the funds should, for the time being, be included in the city’s draft budget.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.