Gary Lindstrom: The free bus promise
A promise kept should not be broken.
Thirty-four years ago there was no bus system in Summit County. The closest thing we had was the Greyhound and Trailways buses that would come through the county and stop at a motel on Main Street in Frisco on their way to Los Angeles or New York. Not exactly a “local” transportation system.
As time went by several different systems were created. We had four ski areas and each had their own bus system that may or may not go to where you wanted to go. The systems were created for a particular ridership.
I had a secretary at the Sheriff’s Office who lived in Wildernest. She would take the Wildernest shuttle bus to either Silverthorne or Keystone and then catch a ski bus to Breckenridge to come to work at the courthouse. I remember her being thrown off one of the buses because it was obvious that she was a secretary and not a skier.
The Summit Stage was created out of this transportation mess and became one of the very best bus systems in Colorado.
And here comes $4 a gallon gasoline and $5 a gallon diesel fuel. And in a panic routes are cut and a there is a discussion about creating a fare for our free bus system.
The real responsibility for paying for a “free bus service” is with Summit County, the towns and the ski areas. It is their job to provide the very best infrastructure that includes good public transportation.
I love it when I hear the sales tax consumers (government) refer to “their” sales tax. It is not “their” sales tax. The sales tax is paid by locals and guests and not any government. In fact the County and the Towns as governments are “sales tax exempt.” It is not “their” sales tax and far from it as they do not pay one penny in sales tax. Sales tax only a pass through for government with the revenue being used to provide county and town services that includes a free bus service.
It is counter intuitive to think that when costs rise due to $4 a gallon fuel to then cut services. It is exactly the time you increase service to take care of increased ridership due to increased costs to the people for their personal transportation.
A successful business will tell you that when sales drop you do not cut your advertising budget. In fact it is the opposite and that is exactly the time you increase marketing to make up for lost sales.
Gary Lindstrom has lived in Summit County since 1974 and is a retired police officer and a recovering politician. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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