Monday, January 30, 2023

Free Public Transit Comes to Heber Valley, Utah

For the first time ever, public transit services began in Wasatch County on Sunday, November 13, 2022. Wasatch County and High Valley Transit entered a three-year, $3 million agreement to offer public bus transit services between Wasatch and Summit Counties, along with micro-transit services throughout Heber Valley.

Funding is provided from a sales tax the Wasatch County Council approved in June 2022, making this new transit service free for all users. With High Valley Transit already providing transportation services throughout Summit County, this new service is operated by High Valley Transit and runs from Heber Valley Hospital on the south end of Heber Valley with stops near Walmart, Holiday Lanes Bowling, Wasatch Commons Apartments, then on to Park City Medical Center, with the final stop at Fresh Market on Park Avenue in Park City. 

“We are very interested in making sure this is a well-used system not only for our residents here to get to and from Park City, but also to get around Heber Valley,” said Dallin Koecher, Executive Director of Heber Valley Chamber. “We want this to succeed, as do many of our committee members and elected officials.”

Initially, there will be five outbound runs in the mornings from Heber Valley to Park City and three inbound runs in the evenings from Park City to Heber Valley. Presently, the 106 Wasatch Back Connector route between Heber Valley and Park City offers five daily morning departures from Heber Valley at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, and 10:00 AM, and three daily afternoon departures from Heber Valley at 4:00, 5:00, and 7:00 PM. Once riders arrive in Park City, they can easily connect to the Park City public transit system into Old Town or out to Kimball Junction. For the return schedule from Park City returning to Heber Valley, there are three daily morning return routes from Park City at 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 AM, and five daily evening return routes from Park City at 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, 6:00, and 8:00 PM. 

Free micro-transit within Heber Valley runs on-demand daily from 5:00 AM to 1:00 AM. Once a ride is requested, via the mobile app or by calling 435-246-1538, riders wait an average of five and 15 minutes for the driver to arrive at their requested pick up location, then take them anywhere within the Heber Valley micro-transit service area. Rides can hold up to four total passengers and it is possible to share rides with other passengers headed in the same direction. The service works very similar to Uber and Lyft transportation services – only this service is free to riders. There is also an option to select a rack on the vehicle to ensure recreation equipment can be carried with passenger. For summer season, this is a bike rack. For winter season, this is a ski/snowboard rack.

In order for this service to be offered now, and while tax dollars are still being accumulated for this free transit service, the local Heber Valley Hospital made a financial contribution through its community benefit program to Wasatch County in support of High Valley Transit and to aid in building a Wasatch County transportation program. This investment will help offset the operational costs to ensure the residents of Heber Valley have transportation to access health care.

“Intermountain Healthcare works closely with local government agencies and other area non-profits to mitigate social and environmental factors that contribute to inequities in healthcare or negatively impact the health of our community,” said Si Hutt, Administrator at Heber Valley Hospital. “We know that lack of transportation creates a barrier to receiving needed healthcare services for some people, and we are excited that High Valley Transit will be operating in Wasatch County to help remove this barrier.”

To utilize the micro-transit services in Heber Valley, download the High Valley Transit app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Or call 435-246-1538 to book a ride as well. Riders interested in using the 106 Wasatch Back Connector need only arrive at one of the designated four pickup or drop off locations in Heber Valley ahead of the pickup times listed on the High Valley Transit website. More information is available at the links provided below.

More information: https://highvalleytransit.org/ 
Heber Valley to Park City transit schedule: https://highvalleytransit.org/106-outbound/ 
Park City to Heber Valley transit schedule: https://highvalleytransit.org/106-inbound/ 
Micro-transit service area in Heber Valley: https://highvalleytransit.org/micro-map/ 

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