Newly approved Summit Stage operation plan calls for change
SUMMIT COUNTY – There may be changes on the horizon for the Summit Stage once its new operation plan comes into effect, including a possible reduction in late-night service and a new route through Summit Cove.
The plan, which the Board of County Commissioners unanimously adopted at a meeting Monday, includes a revised mission statement and provides for significant changes in service.
The plan comes in response to two rider surveys and a variety of analyses based on ridership numbers. Consultant A.T. Stoddard pointed towards adjustments necessary to increase productivity and efficiency.
The Stage should focus on redirecting resources from low-demand to higher-demand times in order to get more bang for the buck, he said. This might include changing some routing and scaling back summer and late-night service.
He cited an array of ridership figures that demonstrated the seasonal nature of demand and a cost per rider that ranged from around $2 to $8, according to routes and time.
For their part, commissioners raised the concern of declining revenues, which the Stage derives from a .75 percent sales tax, and the necessity of planning for contingencies.
“A six-year plan is a great plan, but if it doesn’t take into account if our revenues don’t come in fully, it’s gonna be a difficult plan to implement,” Commissioner Bill Wallace said.
County Manager Ron Holliday pointed to the possibility of “difficult, hard decisions” if budget projections don’t materialize as planned.
Stage Director Bill Watterson, however, said the Stage had made significant adjustments in the past and would retain that flexibility.
“If we get to the point of having to make tough choices,” he said, “I hope we’ll utilize the framework we come up with.”
Commissioner Gary Lindstrom pointed to the Stage’s successes in his support of the plan.
“We’ve got one heck of a great program for local service that’s in place now,” Lindstrom said. “It just keeps getting better and I think it’s because our staff out at the Summit Stage are so open-minded about change.”
“I think the way it’s moving is in a positive direction,” he said.
Aidan Leonard can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or
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