A public bus route between Salt Lake City and historic Park City could be a reality as early as April 2012.

The Utah Transit Authority, Summit County and Park City have agreed to in-depth studies on the issue, said Park City Public Works Director Kent Cashel.

Establishing public transit between the small resort town and Utah's capital city has been a Park City priority since 2000, according to its transportation master plan. One study by Park City staff and another by UTA and the University of Utah showed substantial demand for such a route, according to a City Council report on the issue.

However, the parties have yet to find a funding source for the route, which could cost between $3.6 million and $6.6 million for start-up alone. The parties also need to determine who would run the service and where stops should be. Buses used in Park City now are not large enough for the potential bus line. However, operating costs at UTA far exceed operating costs for the Park City municipal bus system.

One potential route outlined in the staff report shows stops at the Old Town Transit Center, Kimball Junction, Jeremy Ranch, the mouth of Parleys Canyon, the U. and downtown Salt Lake City. The express route would take approximately 50 minutes.

UTA does not serve Summit County now, as taxpayers there don't contribute to the transit authority's general fund, said UTA spokeswoman Carrie Bohnsack-Ware. However, UTA could expand or could provide services in conjunction with the Park City transit system, which provides free busing city-wide.

"We have studied this a few times in the past, but now with fuel prices so high and everyone looking more to transit, it's a really good time to take a look at it," Bohnsack-Ware said.

To read the staff report, visit parkcity.org.

Planned timeline for service startup

Timeline for bus service between Salt Lake City and Park City:

June 2008 — Complete letters of intent

July 2008 — Form working group to study issue

August 2008 — Complete transit study

April 2009 — Adopt service plan

April 2011 — Secure financial assistance

April 2012 — Procure equipment and build facilities, implement service

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