It’s looking like the Canyon traffic is going to be pretty brutal this winter in Utah. KSL reports that the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is cutting service throughout the Salt Lake City metropolitan area due to a lack of drivers. The worst part for skiers is that bus services will be reduced for the numerous ski resorts around the area.
Route 901, a seasonal bus route from Salt Lake City to Park City, has been suspended. Route 953, which started at Midvale Fort Union and ended at Snowbird/Alta, will be suspended for this winter. Route 972 and 994, which go up to Solitude/Brighton and Snowbird/Alta respectively, will have their service reduced to departures every thirty minutes. Last season, they had departures every fifteen minutes on Routes 953, 972, and 994. The bus will remain free for Ikon and season passholders. This follows the news of the Utah Department of Transportation choosing a gondola as the preferred alternative to solve Little Cottonwood’s traffic woes.
The reaction from Little Cottonwood Canyon has been a widespread disappointment. Snowbird posted on social media to express concern with the decision and said that they’re working with UTA for alternative solutions. Meanwhile, the Alta Town Marshall, Mike Morey, noted that the decision by UTA will hurt the town of Alta. Last winter, Alta Ski Area introduced paid parking and reservations during weekends and holidays to combat congestion.
This is gonna hurt. https://t.co/0uToJjxHFF
— Alta Marshal (@MarshalMike1) September 30, 2022
As someone who lived in Utah for around five years, this is bad news. The main flaws with the UTA ski bus service are the limited amount of departures compared to more extensive metro networks in cities, the amount of space available on the busses, and the small parking lots at each departure point. With fewer public buses that will likely be packed to the brim, it will lead more people to Uber/Lyft up the slope, or drive up the canyons, leading to more traffic. So if you’re skiing in the Cottonwoods this coming winter, reach out to some friends to get some carpools going.
Image Credits: Utah Transit Authority