North Creek Business Alliance buying two shuttle buses

One of two buses purchased by the North Creek Business Alliance for a tourist shuttle service

One of two buses purchased by the North Creek Business Alliance for a tourist shuttle service Photo by Andy Flynn.

— North Creek Business Alliance officials will continue their free ski shuttle this winter between Gore Mountain and the downtown business district — including sweeps to area lodging facilities and the Ski Bowl Park — but they won’t be needing the services of Brant Lake Taxi anymore.

For the past four winters, the Business Alliance has used Warren County Occupancy Tax funds to hire Brant Lake Taxi for the ski shuttle. This year, the group will be using $26,000 in Occupancy Tax money — granted from the county and the town of Johnsburg — to buy two 14-passenger buses.

With the buses and the Alliance’s six-passenger electric golf cart used to transport visitors between the train station and businesses along Main Street in the summer, the business group will soon have its own fleet of vehicles.

“If we’re going to be a true destination town, these kind of services have to be available,” said Business Alliance President and co-chairman Michael Bowers, who owns and operates the barVino restaurant on Main Street. “The whole idea is to put heads back into beds. And what we have to do is create ourselves as a destination. People have to want to come here and spend a night. And people spend the night because there are restaurants, shops, transportation, whitewater rafting, hiking, fishing, skiing, all these things we do.”

One bus, a 2005 Ford, has already been purchased. It had been previously used at the Lodge at Otter Creek, a senior living facility in Middlebury, Vt. It is currently at Garnet Signs in Chestertown for finishing touches — placing the words “Free Shuttle” on the front, along with “North Creek Business Alliance” flanked by the Warren County and town of Johnsburg logos.

“It’s a wonderful example of how local businesses — our organization — can work with local governments, Warren County and the town of Johnsburg,” said Business Alliance Vice President and co-chair Joel Beaudin, a partner at the Copperfield Inn. “They’ve been supporting us financially for four years.”

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