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.