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57 The agency has adapted to modern skiing and snowboard- ing by allowing passengers whose skis cannot be placed on the racks to bring them inside the vehicle. No interior racks are available, so according to MVRTD staff, skis are typi- cally kept with passengers at their seat, on their lap, or on the floor. Snowboards, which can be especially large, are typi- cally carried by riders to the right rear wheelchair entrance on the bus, where, as long as a wheelchair is not secured, extra space exists for passengers to stow their snowboards. According to staff, the same bus trips are also usually filled with backpacks, and about 50% of the passengers transport a ski bag--a large fabric bag with a strap inside of which skis, poles, and boots are stored. The community outreach manager said that sometimes space on the routes gets tight, but "because most people are on vacation, they're tolerant" of the crowded environment inside the bus. She added that some people even wear their ski boots directly on the bus, and that the agency has no pro- hibitions against bringing any of these various snow gear- related items on the vehicles. Also noted is that overcrowding occurs typically at the end of a ski day, and the agency has up to three buses leaving FIGURE 55 Racks on a UTA (Utah) bus are designed to hold skis and snowboards (courtesy : UTA). within 15 min of one another to accommodate large numbers of people transporting their gear. The agency's procedure is for drivers to assess the available space and notify people ONE AGENCY'S EXPERIENCE: MARBLE VALLEY who are unable to board that another bus will arrive shortly. REGIONAL TRANSIT DISTRICT, RUTLAND, VERMONT-- The driver then notifies the other drivers by radio about how ACCOMMODATING SKIS AND SNOWBOARDS, many people are waiting with their gear for the next pickup. SUITCASES AND PETS The agency's policies are different on the routes that serve MVRTD has been providing public transportation ser- the ski areas than they are on the city routes, because rarely are vices in the Rutland, Vermont, area since 1976, when it skis carried on the city routes, or grocery carts brought on the operated as a private nonprofit transportation provider. In buses that serve the ski area. According to staff, "several riders 1982, it became the first regional transit district in Vermont. have fold-up wire carts and they bring them on the buses. If the MVRTD currently provides public transit services to all of buses don't have someone in a wheelchair or mobility cart on Rutland County, except for the town of Pittsfield. MVRTD board, riders store their carts in the lift area and [parents] tie also operates commuter services that extend into adjacent strollers in the wheelchair securement area. Drivers sometimes counties, including Addison, Bennington, and Windsor. use the lift for the stroller." Drivers will assist with grocery bags and suitcases. The agency's official policy on city routes MVRTD operates three seasonal services designed is to allow only one suitcase or one grocery cart per rider. The to serve the Killington ski area. These include commuter policy was developed in response to the high volume of riders service between Rutland and the ski area; daytime shuttles who began making connections between the bus and Amtrak between the ski area base lodge and resort facilities; and service, which was reinstated in Rutland in 1995. night services that link hotels and ski resorts. The buses that serve the ski areas are equipped with ski racks on the One of the challenges for riders on MVRTD is that some exterior--and have been for nearly 15 years--but accord- of its policies differ from the policies of neighboring agen- ing to the agency's community outreach manager, "skis cies to which it makes connections. For example, MVRTD have changed shape and snowboards weren't very popular allows pets in carriers, while neighboring ACTR in Addi- 15 years ago" (Coyle 4/9/2010). Although most of the skis son County, a service that provides connections to MVRTD, transported by riders used to easily fit into the spaces on the allows dogs not to be caged. According to MVRTD's com- ski racks, today's skis are longer, wider, or curved, and can- munity outreach manager, over time riders become accus- not be carried on the exterior of the bus. Although the agency tomed to the different policies, and "if someone is making a has continued to replace vehicles and exterior ski racks, the connection, then they may need to learn to bring a pet carrier new racks still cannot accommodate the new skis. with them."