The Utah Transit Authority says that an experiment with providing new ski-bus service in Ogden was a success, so it is looking to extend it for a second year.
The UTA Board's Finance & Operations Committee endorsed that proposal Wednesday, and forwarded it to the full board for expected approval later this month.
The committee was told that the service had 23,485 riders in its first season. Of that total, 15,560 traveled to Powder Mountain and 7,925 went to Snowbasin.
A proposed renewal of an interlocal agreement calls for Ogden, Weber County and ski resorts to continue a subsidy of operation costs. It calls for Weber County to provide $70,000; Ogden, $65,000; Powder Mountain, $60,000; Snowbasin, $20,000; and the Ogden/Weber Convention and Visitors Bureau, $9,650. UTA provides the buses and covers overhead costs.
The board was told that a challenge for continuing service is obtaining more buses. In the first year, UTA essentially used old Salt Lake area ski buses that had reached the end of their expected life but mechanics kept them running. UTA has obtained a federal grant to help buy two new buses for the service this year, and is seeking ways to buy more.
The board was also told that most of the riders during the first year were employees at the ski resorts, and UTA hopes to improve ridership with better advertising to skiers.
One way UTA saved money on the lines was unique. It avoided running empty buses up the canyons to return skiers in the evening by arranging for resorts to give bus drivers ski passes. That way they could park buses at resorts at the end of early runs, ski, and then take buses down the canyon later.