Get on the bus with late night |

Get on the bus with late night

Late-night bus service appears to be continually under the microscope at the Summit Stage Transit Advisory Board because of its perceived lack of ridership, at least compared to daytime service.

The restaurant industry is rallying behind it, as is the Summit Prevention Alliance.

We add our hearty support, especially since the Stage is finally embarking on a concerted marketing program to promote all of its free services. Until recently, the Stage has barely supported its products.

The Summit Stage is a free public transit system funded by a three-quarters of a penny sales tax. It is one of Summit County’s most important public services that benefits locals and visitors alike.

The big hole in its program was that buses shut down at 10:30 p.m. in a resort community where revelers and workers were still on the clock.

Voters fixed that when they added a quarter penny to the half-penny Summit Stage sales tax in 2001. Late night service started late in the ski season in 2002.

To its credit, the Summit Stage staff and board are measuring route effectiveness scientifically. Late night always comes up short in terms of efficiency.

What the Stage does not take into account are the avoided social costs saved by keeping people off the road late at night. We think voters realized late-night service would address this issue.

So it’s unfair, in a sense, for the Stage to measure late night by the formulas it applies to daytime service.

The new marketing plan should help the cause. The restaurant industry should do its part to educate customers about the free buses.

Down the road, the Legislature will add another incentive to ride the buses when the inevitable occurs and it lowers the DUI blood alcohol level to .08 percent. It’s now at 0.1 percent.

While it’s good to question what it does, the Stage and the community need to rally around its late-night service and make it more successful.

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