Top Stories March 2, 2018

Elected Email Blows Up On START

by Jackson Hole. Media

Wednesday, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort sent an email asking for residents to reach out to elected officials about a discontinuation of START bus services.

Given the activity in elected officials email boxes, the public has been making their thoughts heard.

Officials at the resort sent the message out Wednesday evening and asked readers to email Teton County Commissioners and Jackson Town Councilors to ask them to reconsider the proposal to eliminate the private sector contribution to START for pass holders through the resort.

One comment said,” I cannot for the life of me think of a good reason to stop JHMR from offering bus passes to their season pass holders.  This seems to be a poorly thought out action that is contrary to the mission of getting more cars off the roads in Teton County.”

Another resident said the bus service was, after losing elections for tax funds, continuing to fail in its efforts, “Sounds like START is shooting themselves in the foot. Not winning at SPET elections and now this? I hope someone has a plan to move things forward in a positive direction because these look like major set-backs for the county’s public transportation system.”

“Please make it easier to ride the bus, not harder!” one comment read. Another said simply, “Fund Start Bus.”

One resident even equated the elected officials to acting like the local cable TV company who stopped residents from watching the Super Bowl and the Olympics writing, “Ironically, you are taking a page directly out of the Charter/Spectrum playbook with this decision to not allow JHMR to purchase discounted START transportation & pass it on to pass holders, and that draconian position is to drop the service to advance your position. The only people to loose with this decision are the people of Teton County.”

In a statement, JHMR officials said, “Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has voluntarily purchases bus passes for season ski pass holders, as a benefit to the community as well as the pass holders in order to reduce the volume and number of cars on our valley roads during winter seasons. JHMR has done it now for about 15 years, expending over $100,000 last year alone, and this pass holder purchase program it has proven to reduce community traffic levels from what otherwise would have been even more single occupancy vehicle congestion. This voluntary pass holder purchase program is not a requirement of the 1997 resort master plan, it’s perhaps the only example of a large-scale voluntary initiative for transit success in our community. We can’t understand why START Bus would want to end this initiative, thereby increasing traffic and reducing funding for START Bus. To imagine that taking bus passes away would have any other effect than to increase frustrating traffic to locals and reduce funding for START Bus is illogical.”









Comments 3
  • JHMR should comply with the traffic mitigation requirement of their master plan approval. Since the time of the original approval a sales tax has been implemented at JHMR, so there is money floating around. Further, if JHMR doesn’t want to comply BCC of Teton County should halt the issuance of all conditional and special use permits and building permits immediately.

  • How this can be worked out.

    But there is always two sides to a story: From the Town of Jackson FB post:

    START Board to Consider Passenger Fares and Ridership Benefits for Ski Pass Holders

    The START Board will meet on Thursday, March 8th to discuss the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) including passenger fares for each type of service offered and also to consider ridership benefits for season ski pass holders to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR).
    Passenger fares have not been increased since 2005 for service to and from Teton Village, commuter service to Star Valley, WY and Teton Valley, ID and in-town shuttle service.

    Darren Brugmann, Transit Director, will be presenting the proposed budget to the 7-member START Board during the regular meeting on March 8th.

    “In reviewing the fares since I came on board with START, it became clear that we should be critically reviewing rates each year based on the cost of providing the service,” said Brugmann.

    The START Board will also be asked to review the ridership benefits provided to season ski pass holders to determine whether to continue the arrangement with JHMR that allows unlimited ridership for pass holders in exchange for a negotiated payment from JHMR or whether to consider other alternatives.

    Brugmann indicated that the START Board, the Town, and the County have always been supportive of ridership benefits for ski pass holders, “we just need to review and consider exactly how that benefit will be provided and the value of that benefit as part of the budget process.”

    Once the START Board completes its recommended budget, a recommendation will be made to the Town Council and County Commission for approval.

    “We have always shared a common goal with our partners in Teton Village that we are committed to reducing traffic congestion and are unwavering in that goal and will continue to pursue all options towards it,” said Brugmann. “However, we also need to pay attention to our budget – it would be irresponsible to look at just one side of the issue and not the other.”

    To date, no discussion has occurred and no action has been taken by the appointed START Board, the Town Council or the County Commission to change the current practice of the provision of bus service for ski pass holders.

    The process for considering any changes to this practice begins with the START Board meeting on Thursday, March 8th where the FY19 budget will be discussed.

    The START Bus system is in the process of issuing a Request For Proposals with the goal of installing an electronic fare system to better track ridership and help inform decisions related to routes and route expansion as well as increased accountability of fares.

    The START Board budget meeting is open to the public and will begin at 11:30am at the Town Hall in the Council Chambers on Thursday, March 8th. The Town Hall is located at 150 East Pearl Avenue.

    For additional information regarding START Bus passenger fares and ridership benefits for ski pass holders please contact Carl Pelletier with the Town of Jackson at 733-3932 ext. 1112.

  • Spite, plain and simple.
    For the people in government in this valley, ideology is more important than results, or common sense.
    We didn’t give them the money. Now, they are going to show us that they know better than us by doing everything they can to make our lives more difficult.They intend to rub our faces in “take the bus, ride your bike”, although that can NEVER work for most of us.

    Widen the roads.
    Build Tribal Trails.
    Let fares support the bus system.

    And, most important, remember their arrogance next election.

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