Bring back Beaver Creek bus, some residents say
Vail CO, Colorado
AVON ” The gondola at the Westin is good and all, but Pam Hollis is disappointed that skiers in Avon will have to take a different route to Beaver Creek Village.
Avon officials decided earlier this year to end its skier shuttle to the village and instead drop skiers off at the soon-to-be-completed transportation center on Benchmark Road, where skiers can then connect with the gondola at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa.
The gondola will offer a speedy three-minute ride to the Beaver Creek Landing, where passengers can meet up with two high-speed quad chairlifts. Hollis, a part-time Avon resident who uses the bus during ski season, said the gondola is perfect for skiers ready to hit the slopes, but it could be an inconvenience for others. Many passengers, ones wanting to visit shops, grab a bite, meet up with friends or buy lift tickets, will have to catch another bus at the lift.
“The village is handy. It would be nice to have an easy way there like we’ve had,” Hollis said.
Then again, some people may not care that much. Avon resident John Cassidy says the change in bus service won’t change how he does anything. He’s pretty excited about the gondola opening.
“It will get me up their faster than before, and that’s all I care about when the snow is good,” Cassidy said.
Beaver Creek had suggested a couple ways for Avon to continue funding a shuttle to the village ” both would require some sort of tax hike.
There was talk of raising the lodging tax, which must approved by voters. There was also talk of creating a general improvement district with the power to impose taxes to raise the necessary funds. To form an improvement district, a petition must be signed by no less than 30 percent or 200 registered voters and residents. After being approved by the council, this must also go to voters.
For now, those ideas aren’t realistic and viable for Avon, and Beaver Creek will have to figure out another way to connect the village to Avon, Town manager Larry Brooks said.
Hollis said she hopes to see a shuttle to the village back this ski season.
“I don’t even use it that much. But I don’t think it’s right to take away something people are used to,” Hollis said.
Officials at Beaver Creek said they had no information available on when or if they would start a skier shuttle from Avon to the village.
Both taxing options might be considered someday though, and this issue with the Beaver Creek skier shuttle points to an even larger concern in Avon’s future.
With Avon planning to go through extensive urban renewal and redevelopment, the need for a reliable bus system will increase, and the town needs a way to make sure enough money for buses will always be there, Brooks said.
“If you’re going to promote development that minimizes the requirement of cars, you need a mass transit system to accommodate that so it can work,” Brooks said. “That’s the struggle the town of Avon needs to face.”
So, new taxes of some sort might be something future residents of Avon will have to deal with. Town staff are also considering the idea of a sales-tax increase or even a fare-driven bus service. Regardless of what they choose, it could be a tough sale, and they’ll have to approach it carefully.
“Anytime you have any kind of increase, there’s a sensitivity to it,” Brooks said.
Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or email@example.com.