Frisco declines Flyer proposal
FRISCO – Frisco town council members rejected a proposal Tuesday by Summit Stage officials to renew the Frisco Flyer bus service for the winter.
Late last November, Frisco officials decided to discontinue the free, in-town bus service, which served the town’s residential areas from December until April each ski season.
The town spent approximately $50,000 annually on the bus service, and officials cited a variety of reasons for ending the service last year, including low ridership and duplication of Summit Stage service. Frisco officials also said they felt the Summit Stage should provide the transportation.
In planning services for the coming year, transit officials included the proposal for the Summit Stage to deliver a modified Flyer service for the coming season, Summit Stage Director Bill Watterson said.
Summit Stage officials offered the town two options to reinstate the Frisco Flyer this winter. One would offer service from 7:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. daily and would cost the town $24,948. The second option included night service, running from 7:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily, and Frisco’s portion would total $26,460.
In both cases, the Summit Stage proposed to cover the majority (70 percent for option A or 76 percent for option B) of the costs for the service, and Frisco would contribute the remainder.
Frisco Assistant Town Manager Theresa Casey said that, while the town knew of the possibility of renewing the Flyer service, the request for a financial contribution from the town came as a surprise.
Councilmember David Amli, who serves on the transit board, said he still supported the proposal.
“I think there might be an opportunity here to have better transit (in Frisco),” he said at Tuesday’s worksession.
But Amli was the only proponent of renewing the service under the guidelines of the proposal – Casey and the other council members were opposed to the idea of sharing costs.
Casey’s recommendation to the council was that the Summit Stage provide a modified service with their portion of money and, instead of contributing the remainder, Frisco would pay only to advertise the bus service.
Casey said she didn’t want to see the town reintroduce the bus service, not meet the hourly ridership requirements and have to “yank it again.”
“This proposal has merit,” said Frisco Mayor Bob Moscatelli, ” but won’t be considered at this time.”
“Essentially, if the town of Frisco is saying that they will not be a financial participant, then I believe the transit board would change its recommendation,” Watterson said Wednesday. “I believe they would drop the Frisco Flyer from the service plan.”
Ultimately, however, the decision of whether or not to drop the idea of reinstating the service or to modify the proposal belongs to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). The BOCC is scheduled to make a decision Monday.
County Commissioner Bill Wallace said he was surprised by Frisco’s decision.
“I saw this as a stop-gap measure for this season, but obviously, they didn’t see it that way,” Wallace said, adding he has no idea what the BOCC will decide Monday.
There are several directions the discussion could take, he said, including Casey’s proposal, “the county agreeing to pick up the whole thing or the county doing nothing.”
Even if the BOCC decides against picking up the Frisco Flyer for this winter, it is possible the service might be reinstated in the future, Watterson said.
Current and former Frisco officials have referred to the Flyer debate as an old wound. Frisco is the only town in the county expected to contribute financially to the Summit Stage service, they said.
Historically, the purpose of the Summit Stage has been to connect the county and to complement any bus services individual towns offer, Watterson said.
“The town of Frisco gets fixed-route Summit Stage service,” he said. “That is a service that Breckenridge, Dillon and Silverthorne also receive.”
None of the towns pay directly for the service, which is supported by a countywide transit tax, but Frisco is the only town that has asked Summit Stage for an additional level of service, he said.
Breckenridge offers in-town transit, but though the town once contracted Summit Stage for the service, Breck now funds it, Watterson said. Summit Stage also serves individual areas such as Dillon Valley and Wildernest, but those are county areas outside of town limits.
Still, Frisco’s interest in an expanded service within town limits might be an option for the future, Watterson said, adding that Summit Stage officials are beginning an examination of their operations, which will include the efficiency and equity of service.
“There are definitely different points of view about what we should provide,” Watterson said. “And this will be a topic that continues to receive a lot of attention. We are at a point where we’re putting that up to question.”
Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or email@example.com
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