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Cost of bus ride is slashed to $5

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The cost of taking a bus to mountain venues during the 2002 Winter Games has dropped from $20 to just $5 in an attempt to attract more riders, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee announced Friday.

Only about 5,000 people have signed up to ride the buses to skiing, sliding and jumping events at Park City, Deer Valley, Snowbasin, the Utah Olympic Park near Kimball Junction and the Soldier Hollow cross country and biathlon course near Midway.

But SLOC has secured enough buses with federal funds to seat 66,000 spectators.

"We need to be absolutely certain we get to that number. We hope we can even exceed that, which would then further alleviate traffic congestion," Fraser Bullock, SLOC's chief operating officer, said.

Refunds are already being issued to those who purchased seats at the higher price, Bullock said.

The 75 percent reduction in the charge for a seat on the "Mountain Venue Express" means about $450,000 less in revenue for the organizing committee, he said, based on estimates the buses would be only half full.

"What's important here is that our transportation system works as best we can make it," Bullock said. "We're trying to do our part in reducing (traffic congestion) as much as possible."

He said there are other advantages to choosing the bus over driving.

"I like to call it breakfast and a movie because we will give you snacks on the bus and we're going to show you highlight videos from Olympic events from the previous day. I mean, what more could anyone ask for?"

At one time, organizers considered charging as much as $40 per person to ride the bus. The price won't go lower than $5, Bullock said. "We wouldn't reduce it further because if it went to zero, people might make reservations and then not show up."

The buses operate from Orem to Soldier Hollow, from Ogden to Snowbasin and from Salt Lake City to all mountain venues. For reservations, call 866-566-4428.