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Airport Bus Service Examined

START Bus

Is bus service between the airport and town feasible?  The joint town and county leaders have asked Southern Teton Area Regional Transit personnel to examine the options and report back in January what such service would cost to provide.  START Administrator Michael Wackerly says three scenarios were initially examined and ran the gamut from prohibitive to plausible.  The most energetic scenario would provide bus service for airport employees and passengers each half hour from the first shift at 5:00 am until the last shift at 11:30 pm.  However, Wackerly says if you ran every half hour all day, all year, the cost is estimated to be around $1.4-million each year.  Additionally, he says five more busses would have to be purchased because the service would put four on the street at one time and a fifth would be needed as a spare.  That would be another $700-thousand added to the start-up cost for such service.  Obviously, Wackerly says START neither has that kind of operating capital nor the wherewithal to maintain a larger fleet.  Another plan would contract with an outside provider to offer service between the airport and key points in town in addition to area hotels for all the scheduled flights, and add service to provide transportation for employees to their shifts.  That service, he said was estimated at $600-thousand although some of the costs could be recouped by charging a fare.  The third option examined would only provide service for employees at the airport.  Since the peak period for that need would be seasonal, Wackerly says the cost is estimated to be around $70-thousand. Wackerly says START officials will study the alternatives for the next two months and are to report back to the joint town and county boards in January.

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