Seasonal Vail Valley drivers want to keep driving
Eagle County, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” Eagle County’s winter bus drivers don’t usually hesitate to leave Colorado’s Vail Valley when the season’s over. This year, a bunch are asking to stay.
“Very rarely do we hire people that want to stick around,” said Kelley Collier, ECO Transit’s assistant director.
ECO employs 34 year-round drivers and hires another 14 to work during the ski season. It’s those 14 people that are usually quick to leave the Vail Valley when their seasonal gigs are over. But with the end of the season not too far off and the country in a recession, some have started to ask about how they can keep their jobs.
“They want the security of working for ECO Transit,” Collier said.
Seven of the 14 drivers who would normally be out of job at the beginning of May want to keep driving for the county. Collier didn’t know yet whether the department would have work for the seasonal employees. There is one year-round position open now, though, she said.
ECO also had more interest from locals than it usually does this season.
Eagle resident Dale Annis applied to be a bus driver in September when his interior finishing business started to slow down.
“I figured when my last job was sort of at a tail end, I better get out and find something else,” said Annis, who has lived in the Vail Valley since 1981. “I thought about the transit system ” I enjoy driving and meeting people, it seemed to fit right in with me.”
Now, because of the poor economy, Annis’ best option for work is to keep driving.
“Hopefully I can stay on through the summer,” he said. “If not, I’ll see if I can stay on part time and then I’ll just have to look.”
Vail also had more locals apply for seasonal jobs driving buses this year.
“We had more local interest than we’ve ever had,” said Vail Human Resources Director John Power.
A little less than half of the 30 to 35 seasonal drivers the town employed were locals, said Power, who expects some of them to be interested in summer work.
“In today’s environment, I think we’ll probably see more returning seasonals,” Power said.
Last year, the town had trouble finding Vail Valley residents to fill summer jobs.
“We headed off to Puerto Rico, we couldn’t find locals,” Power said. “I think (this year) we’ll start to see just what the economy means.”
Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.