Brainstorming Public Transportation in Mountain Counties

Oct 2, 2014

A Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus near Aspen.
Credit Facebook/RFTA

Public transportation is expensive, and officials can have a hard time keeping up with costs. But making sure bus and other services simply continue as they are, is a big goal for officials in Colorado’s Intermountain region. 

Representatives from Summit to Pitkin County, and points in between, have put together a plan for the region. Tracey MacDonald is with the Colorado Department of Transportation. She says just keeping up with the cost of running bus and other services can be tricky. That includes:

“Gas prices. It’s also the cost of labor, and benefits, maintenance equipment or purchasing new busses. All of those costs frequently increase each year, but often revenues remain fairly stable.” One major factor can be health insurance, which has been on the rise for agencies for several years.

MacDonald says at least maintaining service is important for low income families, but also because the Roaring Fork Valley is expecting a boom in aging residents. And the next generation of adults are far more likely to hop on a bus. Again, Tracey MacDonald.

“Millennials now want to ride transit, instead of purchasing a car. One because it’s expensive and two, they really like their iPhones-- or their smart phones. And so it gives them an option.”

Officials will knit together regional transportation goals as part of Colorado’s first ever statewide transit plan. That’s expected to come out in November.