Airport workers chilly on START service plan
By Benjamin Graham, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
December 14, 2012
Jackson Hole Airport employees probably wouldn’t ride the bus to work.
In a November survey, less than 20 airport employees said they would use public transportation if it was offered, based on the stops and schedule START is currently considering.
Many workers were concerned they wouldn’t be able to get home if they had to work late or leave early for an emergency, according to an analysis provided to START Bus board members at a meeting Thursday.
“Very few people, we think, are interested in public transportation,” airport Director Ray Bishop told the board.
Buses bound for the airport would stop at Gros Ventre Junction, the Home Ranch parking lot, the Stillson parking lot and Teton Village.
The survey results were released as the joint town and county bus system board considers options for extending service to the airport.
Board members had mulled running buses based on airport workers’ schedules. Comprehensive START service for passengers and employees was deemed too expensive.
Town and county leaders initially asked START to look into extending service north of Jackson to reduce traffic and the community’s carbon foot-
After hearing the survey results and the comments from Bishop, the board voted to recommend limited, subsidized service to the airport through a private company, Alltrans. Alltrans would continue its regular service to the airport, but extra stops would be added, and only used upon request. The town and county would subsidize the fares to make the service more affordable. It would operate during the summer as a test run.
The bus company now charges $16 for a one-way trip to town and only runs to hotels.
That recommendation will go to town and county officials at a future meeting.
About 23,000 riders a year would use the service, costing the town and county about $220,000, according to estimates from START staff.
“It would be a way to get your foot in the water and test what ridership would be,” START Director Michael Wackerly said to the board.
Airport officials plan to schedule a community workshop to discuss airport bus service early next year.