Downhill ride |

Downhill ride

Bruce Hines

I am writing to follow up on the letter by Anne Marie Butler in your April 10 commentary page (“Bad experience”). My family and traveling companions wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Butler’s observations of the late night Vail to Beaver Creek bus experience. It is pretty sick. We now know we can always depend on a bad experience on any weekend during this Vail to Beaver Creek trip.

We have been coming to Beaver Creek to ski for two weeks for each of the past 10 years. Over that period, we have watched the local transportation system basically fall to pieces to the point of our giving up on this system.

It appears officials in Beaver Creek, Vail, Avon and Eagle County have all conspired to totally destroy something that was once an excellent system providing outstanding service to guest. I congratulate you all for being so careless in your efforts to save a few dollars and protect turf.

Instead of Beaver Creek officials worrying about an Avon-to-mountain rail system or funicular, you should fix this diseased and confused bus network.

My family will no longer stay in Vail late nights while depending on a ride back to Beaver Creek using the indirect Route 6 bus to Edwards. It has become a very bizarre experience, and I feel sorry for any parents with children on this trip.

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Our latest adventure in December 2003 had a obviously intoxicated Vail worker lying on the floor of the bus, ready to vomit on us all. On several occasions he fell on the laps of patrons in the crowded bus just to get pushed to the floor and yelled at once again. In 2002, we nearly witnessed a fight among the young drunken Vail worker set and others who didn’t care for the language being used.

Before that, we had a drunken Denver visitor to Vail placed on the bus by the Vail Police and told to spend the night in Avon to sleep it off. This was with the consent of the bus driver from ECO. We watched this event in total dismay.

The current bus system is an embarrassment to your Beaver Creek guests, and actions should be taken to fix it.

First, the bus return toward Edwards late night is way too crowded and slow. There is nearly a one hour wait between buses around 10 p.m. at the Vail Transportation Center. The bus driver has little he or she can do to solve problems due to crowding.

Beaver Creek and Avon officials have also totally messed up the old bus systems including Dial-a-Ride (the rules seem to change each year) and the late-night Avon to Beaver Creek buses. More and more, we must rely on the parking lot buses, and that results in another wait ath the bottom of the hill. This is regrettable considering how much guests to Beaver Creek spend each year for accommodations, food, lifts, etc.

I understand that costs are the reason driving these low service changes, but at some point, your service to guest becomes intolerable. I would be more than willing to pay additional resources for direct bus or shuttle service to and from Vail in the late night. After all, Vail just gets started after 9 p.m.

This year we looked into taxi fees between Vail and Beaver Creek. It was about $50 with tip, so we passed and tried to use the Route 6 bus once again, knowing the potential hazards. What a mistake! I haven’t heard such cursing in a number of years and I’m not shy or timid from the use of four-letter words myself.

The Vail Transportation Center is also continuing on a downward spiral. I was there for its opening day and remember what a nice and safe place it appeared to be, offering cookies and chocolate. What a difference a few years have made. Now with some of the characters hanging around, I’m always watching my family’s back. Going downstairs late at night to the restrooms can be another adventure. Where is the security? Further, the center staff appears to care less.

So here are the questions: 1) What has happened to cause all this downfall? If it is funding, charge more! Beaver Creek residents can certainly afford it. 2) Do Beaver Creek officials (that would be John Garnsey I assume) condone putting their guest through this during our visits to Vail or are they trying to assure we stay in Beaver Creek for dinner and entertainment? 3) What’s the problem with Vail and its young employees and their managers? Is a common drunken state part of the criteria to work there? 4) Does anyone in Avon and Eagle County care?

Bruce Hines


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