ECO Transit hires new director
Beginning July 14, the Eagle County Regional Transportation Authority, or ECO Transit will have a new director.
Harry Taylor who has served the past 10 years as transportation director for the town of Avon, is replacing Jim Lair, ECO’s previous director, who left town in April for a new job at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Transit.
In Avon, Taylor directed operations of the municipal transit system and provided contract transit services to Beaver Creek Resort. He brings experience in local public transportation, management and finance to his new regional role, said Becky Gadell, assistant county administrator.
“We’re excited to have a person of Harry’s demonstrated ability and experience,” said Eagle County Commissioner Michael Gallagher, the county’s representative on the ECO board. “He has the local market knowledge and the transit experience. His background will be indispensable as we tackle regional transportation ideas on the table.”
Consolidation of services
Taylor will be changing a staff of 25 with 29 buses in Avon for ECO’s 40 with 31 buses.
“The biggest issue for the government entities in the valley is the consolidation of transportation services,” Taylor said. “That will be my goal.”
ECO and the town of Avon are looking at numerous ways to cooperate, saving time time and money.
“It’s going to take a lot of study in order to consolidate services within the valley because it has to be efficient and work for all the players,” he said.
Tuesday, the county commissioners will consider an agreement that would allow ECO to park some of its buses at Avon’s Swift Gulch Maintenance Center during the ski season.
“The agreement means we wouldn’t have two “dead-head’ buses – in other words, run empty buses between Avon and Gypsum,” Gallagher said. “Staff estimates the new arrangement will save ECO drivers 38 hours a week they currently lose driving between the busy ski areas and the ECO service and parking center in Gypsum.”
Gallagher said existing ECO services, such as the Dotsero route, will remain as they are.
Other cooperative services under consideration include ECO’s operation of the Avon-Beaver Creek ski shuttle now served by the town of Avon.
“We hate to lose him,” said Avon’s town manager, Larry Brooks, “But when somebody with that kind of experience can go to a broader-based service, it’s a helpful thing for all of us.
“The first thing we’ll see with Harry’s experience will be a more economical way of providing services,” Brooks said. “Also connecting routes in a more favorable way for passengers.”
Taylor said he applied for the job when he heard Lair was leaving.
Eagle County Administrator Jack Ingstad said the ECO Board considered 12 of 50 candidates who applied for the position. Four ECO board members and a transportation industry expert served on the review panel for selection of the new director. The panelists were:
– Stephen Richards, ECO board chairman and Eagle Town Council member.
– Ron Wolfe, ECO board member and Avon Town Council member.
– Mike Rose, Vail’s transportation director.
– Jim Kleckner, ECO board member and Minturn Town Council member.
“I’m pleased they found Harry to be the most qualified candidate,” Ingstad said. “I’m looking forward to him putting his knowledge of the valley and his experience with transportation to work for ECO.”
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.