Winter shuttle will stop at Avon eateries
Vail Valley, CO Colorado
AVON, Colorado – Hungry skiers can ride a “dinner shuttle” this coming winter.
The evening shuttle will stop at Avon restaurants, as well as the Westin and Beaver Creek Village during the ski season.
Last year, a shuttle ran between the Westin and the village but it didn’t stop at Avon eateries. With the return of the dinner shuttle, which operated for at least 15 years before last year, people staying in Beaver Creek could find it easier to explore eateries downhill, some say.
“If you’re staying in Beaver Creek, you’ll probably find it more convenient to hop down the hill and try eating at Pazzo’s or vin48 or one of the other restaurants here,” said Jennifer Strehler, director of public works and transportation for the town of Avon.
Likewise, the shuttle is popular with people in Avon who want to get to Beaver Creek restaurants, Beaver Creek Resort Company Executive Director Tony O’Rourke said.
“We get people in Avon who come up, whether it’s the Chophouse or Splendido or Mirabelle,” he said. “Last year 60 percent of the people came down (from Beaver Creek) to Avon. Forty percent came up from Avon to Beaver Creek. It’s fairly equitable.”
Avon town council reached an agreement on Tuesday with the resort and Beaver Creek Metro District for shuttle services between Avon and Beaver Creek Village.
Under the agreement, Beaver Creek and Avon will split the cost for two shuttles: the dinner bus and a shuttle from Avon Station to Beaver Creek Village. Beaver Creek will provide the buses; Avon will contribute up to $42,500.
Last year, Avon didn’t contribute money to the shuttles because it pitched in for the cost of a gondola from Avon to Beaver Creek, Avon Mayor Ron Wolfe said.
“We took a position that we thought (the shuttle) was mostly beneficial to Beaver Creek and since we were paying for half the gondola operation, they should pay for that shuttle bus,” he said. “This year, as we looked at our whole economic situation in the town, the community and our bus service, we agreed it is important for both the town and Beaver Creek to connect that ridership with some kind of a shuttle bus.”
Last year, Beaver Creek paid for the Avon Station shuttle and split the cost of the Westin bus with the hotel.
O’Rourke said Beaver Creek asked Avon to pitch in money for the shuttles this year because it’s good for both locations.
“We both benefit by the service and we thought it was only equitable to share the cost,” he said.
Wolfe said Beaver Creek offered the town a good deal for the shuttles.
“We decided to kind of suck it up for a year and split that cost with them and deal with the larger issue of ‘How do we fund bus systems in Avon?’ on a longer term basis,” he said.
O’Rourke said the resort wants a dedicated funding source for the shuttles. However, the economic climate was wrong this year to ask the community for a tax increase, he said.
To make up for the cost of shuttles, Avon trimmed $42,500 from its transportation budget for 2010.
The town will slightly scale back service hours for free Avon Transit buses that travel around the downtown, Strehler said. Service will start half an hour later, at 6:30 a.m., and end a half hour earlier, at 10:30 p.m.
Also, a shuttle that travels from Avon hotels to Avon Station will take a mid-day break. That shuttle will not operate from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., during times when the Beaver Creek shuttles they connect to aren’t operating, Strehler said.
Those changes to Avon Transit will go into effect this coming ski season, she said.
High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or email@example.com.