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Bustang begins, but no weekend service… yet

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CDOT
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Starting this morning, Monday, July 13th, it’s possible to hop on a CDOT bus to Denver, with a few stops in between. But there isn’t any weekend service. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher spoke with the agency’s top transit person and has this story.

On what’s being called the “Bustang” service, riders will pay $28 to ride three and a half hours from Glenwood to Denver’s Union station. If passengers want to continue to Denver’s airport, a connecting bus brings the cost to just under $40 and about five hours total travel time. Riders can catch a bus to other cities on the Front Range, too.

Since Bustang Service only runs weekdays, Aspen Public Radio called up Mark Imhoff to ask why. He’s CDOT’s Director of Transit and Rail and says it’s important to look at the big picture.

“Our Commission, in wanting us to start small and wanting make sure that we have initial success, they did guide us into only weekday service,” says Imhoff. “We will be doing more outreach and I have every expectation that we are going to expand the service assuming we have success with what we begin with.”

Imhoff points out that this is CDOT’s first time running its own transit service.The idea is to connect the handful or so biggest public transportation systems already in place across Colorado. That includes the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. We asked Imhoff why he’s starting with weekdays instead of weekends.

“When we look at the purpose and the trips that we’re trying to serve, I think it’s probably obvious that along the Front Range we’re looking at commuter-type service. And in the mountain corridor that’s a lot more difficult because of the distances there,” explains Imhoff. “So in talking with the transit agencies along the line, the input that we got and the rationale we put forward was not so much a commuter base, but more what we’ve termed essential services. So how do we get folks to the doctor, how do we get them to business appointments. How do we get them possibly into Denver so they can have access to DIA. And the thought is that those are predominantly weekday trips.”

The West Line, which connects Denver to Glenwood Springs, has cost about 1.2 million dollars so far.

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