Squaw Alpine Transit Company Board of Directors Quarterly Meeting Minutes
February 12, 2020
Squaw Valley PSD Conference Room, 305 Squaw Valley Rd, Olympic Valley, CA 96146
1. Call to Order
Chair Keith Fountain called today’s meeting to order at 9:02 AM. A quorum was established.
2. Roll Call and Establishment of Quorum
Board members in attendance
Board members not in attendance
Noyan Suel, Olympic Village Inn (OVI)
Travis Gleason, Downtowner
Ryan Spaagaren, Downtowner
3. Changes to Agenda / Adopt Agenda
It was moved by Benjaminson and seconded by Fountain to approve today’s agenda as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
4. Approve October 17, 2019 Meeting Minutes
It was moved by Tetrault and seconded by Fountain to approve the October meeting minutes as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
5. Public Comment
The new General Manager at Olympic Village Inn, Noyan Suel, was introduced.
6. Board Member Comments
Tetrault has noticed Mountaineer drivers do not always adhere to local speed laws. Doyle will follow up.
7. Chairman’s Report
Ridership Update December 13 - January 31 and YoY comparisons
Fountain reported ridership is up 40% over this time last year and wait times are down 20%. Satisfaction scores are very high. The season is off to a good start. Fountain said Downtowner has a solid team working this year and had almost 90 applications for drivers. Crezee noted the challenges TART has with getting drivers. A brief discussion followed regarding the different licensing requirements based on equipment.
Olympic Village Inn launch and Squaw Alpine Shuttle data through January 31
Fountain reported the OVI launch has gone well, but the equipment has caused some issues for some riders. OVI guests are used to different vehicles and more customized service. The Mountaineer buses can be hard to get in and out of with ski boots and the ski racks are high. More suitable vehicles are being considered for next winter.
Grant said another piece has to do with operations, for example, drivers helping people on and off and being more attentive. Also, is there a way to “ping” drivers that a guest is waiting in one location while the vehicle is parked in another? It was agreed that 2-way radios would solve that issue in the short-term and Suel will follow up. Doyle will work with Travis to add new 6-10pm Village at Squaw pick up and drop off locations.
Suel described the condition of the current fleet at OVI and how Mountaineer is helping solve a lot of issues. He has heard favorable comments overall, but agreed that using a different vehicle would make a difference. Discussion followed regarding specifics of the service.
Benjaminson explained how SATCo’s OVI contract with Downtowner is a fixed cost contract. SATCo is actually losing money because of insurance overages.
Mountaineer Partner Proposal for Resort at Squaw Creek Discussions Resume
Fountain reported discussions between the SATCo Contract Committee and the Resort will resume soon. Conly is hopeful the partnership will work. As more organizations participate, an economy of scale can be realized.
2020/2021 Tahoe City Weekend Evening Service Pilot
Fountain reported on conversations about providing evening service on Friday and Saturday nights between Squaw Valley and Tahoe City. Because of logistics, that could not start this year, but conversations with Placer County will start again in April to consider options for next winter.
Stepner reported that at last week’s Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association (TNT TMA) meeting, there was discussion about using micro-transit to service the neighborhoods and connect with TART. He and Crezee noted there may be additional opportunities to partner with Placer County to solve local transit needs.
Strategic Planning “Lite”
Fountain said now that SATCo is forming partnerships and considering expansion opportunities, it may be time to have a planning session. Following discussion about what topics may be considered, there was agreement to discuss this idea more at the May meeting and consider a workshop in August that would include representative(s) from Downtowner. Topics will include effective use of resources, partnerships, and possible expansion of services.
Board Member Conflict of Interest Policy & signatures on statement from all
All Board members present have reviewed the Conflict of Interest Policy and signed the statement. Doyle will get signatures from Board members not present at the meeting.
8. Treasurer’s Report
a. Financial Report
Benjaminson presented the financial reports. As of the end of January, there is a total of $9,000 in delinquent payments. About half of that is due from one entity. Doyle said that account will be submitted to collections and Placer County can take legal action to lien. Benjaminson clarified specific line items and variances, noting revenue trends given the lack of snow. If business does not pick up, he may recommend some changes. In response to a question, Benjaminson explained the pay-back to Squaw Valley Ski Holdings for the loan.
Motion that Board has reviewed financial reports - It was moved by Crezee and seconded by Fountain to accept the financial reports as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
b. Insurance Cost Variance & Program Adjustments Update & Discussion
Spaagaren and Gleason from Downtowner joined the meeting via teleconference for this item.
Benjaminson reported that although most line items are tracking well, insurance costs were 311% over budget, or $61,000. About $5,600 has to do with expanded service to OVI.
Spaagaren explained the reasons for higher than anticipated insurance costs. He and Travis described the options they are exploring with other insurance carriers as well as other cost saving measures being recommended, such as revising the schedule to continue serving the market with fewer resources on the road. For example, one driver could be pulled on Mondays and Tuesdays and have scattered hours during the week when the demand is less. It was agreed that recommended program adjustments were acceptable including starting April 1, two fewer vehicles will be used.
Conly asked what options should be considered if it does not snow. A brief discussion followed about anticipated lodging occupancies.
9. Operations Committee Report
Crezee and Stepner presented notes from Blann with a recommendation to add the evening drop-off and pick up to the stairs by Dubliner or the Tram Circle to accommodate those out for the evening. Discussion followed on how that could work. Doyle will confirm with Downtowner the app will advise passengers of their closest pick-up location and coordinate with Mountaineer to institute Dubliner-step and Tram Circle pick ups 6:00-10:00 PM as soon as possible.
Stepner said at the TMA meeting, there was discussion about TART instituting a 7:00 AM route from Truckee to Tahoe City for employees and that to be most efficient, perhaps Mountaineer could meet the bus at the entrance to Squaw to take those workers into the Valley. Discussion followed about opportunities for SATCo to receive funding to supply supplemental service.
Stepner suggested setting a date certain to cut back service this year if business is slow. Doyle will distribute occupancy reports weekly if no snow in forecast continues Stepnerasked about providing later service on Friday and Saturday nights, for example 11PM and earlier service Thursday-Sunday, for example 9:00 PM mid-week to accommodate people who want to stay out later on weekends.
Stepner said the Committee discussed the transit center area. From Blann’s point of view it is working fine. But Stepner noted that the road from transit center to Funitel can be icy in a “normal” winter. Staging does not seem to be a problem, but might be with more snow.
10. Action Items
a. Review and Approve 2018 & 2019 Tax Filings
Benjaminson presented the tax information prepared by Griesmer/Ferrera. Benjaminson is trying to get an answer about how SATCo files as a non-profits given loans from SVSH and other contracts.
It was moved by Fountain and seconded by Grant to direct Benjaminson to sign and file the tax returns for the years ending September 30, 2018 and September 30, 2019 as presented on behalf of the organization. Motion carried unanimously.
b. Contracts Committee to assist Joy with Resort at Squaw Creek service agreement
Fountain suggested Doyle become more involved in negotiating the agreement with the Resort at Squaw Creek.
c. Finance Committee and Adviser to Identify Grant and Other Funding Oppor- tunities
Fountain reported Doyle has agreed to explore grant and other funding opportunities. A brief discussion followed about ways to best utilize Doyle’s time.
d. 2019/2020 end-of-season Rider Survey - request for additions/changes
Fountain said a survey will be done mid-April using the same template as last year and requested additions or changes. Stepner requested a question about “how did you hear about the service” be added.
11. Summarize meeting action items before adjourning
Doyle will follow up with Mountaineer about drivers speeding
Doyle will work with partners to compile March occupancy numbers
OVI will provide 2-way radios until app is updated
Doyle will talk to Travis about changing the geo-fencing
Strategic planning will be considered
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 11:20 AM.