Resort shuttle issue begs solution
I was a volunteer Mountain Host for Winter Park Resort last season, and a frequent question from guests was “which shuttle bus can I get on that will get me back to my condo?”Where applicable, I would tell the inquirer to think of all the possible colors of a severe bruising – black, blue, yellow, red and purple. The decision by senior management of Winter Park Resort to eliminate funding for the day red and purple shuttle amounts to a severe bruising.The main reason given is a “cost-saving measure,” and I understand that nobody outside of WPR was polled before making the announcement.I don’t know what business in our community hasn’t been affected by the economic downturn and forced to cut costs. Our own corporate philosophy at CMC & Vacations Inc. has been to seek ways of reducing or eliminating expenses without sacrificing service to our paying guests and the owners whom we represent. This decision may be cloaked as a business decision to cut costs, but in truth it’s cutting service.We are also told that “to help compensate” the loss of these two routes, the black line is being beefed up and will run daily during the ski season. Take a look at last season’s red and purple routes in the winter Guest Guide and tell me how this compensates those on these routes. The real reason the ski area has to do this is because of the numbers picked up in Winter Park as the buses trundle through town on their way up to the ski area, which I would estimate to be in excess of 20,000 just for these two routes alone. And I wonder if the Black line might have been in jeopardy also, had it not been for the location of Safeway.I was further baffled by the comment by Mr. Lane that ridership numbers “was not a significant driver” of the resort’s decision to cut back on bus expenditures. I’m sure he intended no pun, but to me this reads that it didn’t matter how many of the lift ticket, season-pass and on-mountain product purchasing public were going to be inconvenienced, the service was being axed.My 20,000 estimate in Wednesday’s article was for the Meadowridge/Summit loop alone, based on my own figures – you could double this to include Fraser also.What I do find disappointing is that the ski area did not come to the community first and say “this is what we are going to do, but we want to be at the forefront of discussions and negotiations to help find alternative solutions to hopefully keep the service, as we realize how many guests, owners, management companies and wholesalers will be affected by this decision. After all, our motto is ‘Dedicated to creating the best memories, again and again’.”This should be our focus. A short-term solution for next season should at least be the priority for now, but a longer-term outlook needs to come front and center which, in all probability, will resurrect the discussion (and perhaps give it greater impetus than before) of a valley-wide Transportation District, with public (read Towns and County) and private involvement, both vocal and financial.As the not-so-famous lyrics from the Dodo’s song “Red and Purple” goes: “Come and join us in the trenches, red and purple by our side. Say you’ll never leave us, in this company of mine.”Brian LencePresident – CMC & Vacations Inc
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