Additional regional bus service starts Sunday between Craig, Steamboat
Steamboat Springs — An additional regional bus about to start rolling between Steamboat Springs and Craig will allow weekend riders to get to work in Steamboat earlier and leave a bit later.
Steamboat Springs Transit secured $132,515 in state funding to expand the service at a time the regional bus line is seeing more passengers.
Transit Manager Jonathan Flint said when only one regional bus ran on the weekends last winter, some passengers had to be turned away because the 55-passenger buses were full.
“It was concerning we couldn’t get some people home,” Flint said. “We’re really excited about offering this additional service.”
The grant funding allowed SST to restore a level of service it had offered before it made cuts due to budget restrictions.
Two buses will again travel between Steamboat Springs and Craig.
The extra bus will leave the regional transit facility in Craig at 5:50 a.m., about an hour earlier than the existing bus. For the return trip, buses will leave the Gondola Transit Center in Steamboat at 4:25 and 5:25 p.m.
The extra buses will begin running Sunday and continue through the winter. View the full regional schedule at the end of this story.
SST’s regional buses saw 27,796 riders last year.
Ridership dropped slightly from 2013, likely due to lower gas prices. But ridership this year is on pace to be higher than last year, and it remains much higher than the 21,195 riders SST saw on the regional line in 2010.
When gas was $3.25 per gallon, SST estimated a person who went without a car and commuted on the bus from Craig to Steamboat could save $10,000 per year in travel costs.
Flint said the weekend regional buses are used by both local workers and people who want to travel to Steamboat for skiing or other forms of recreation.
The extra bus on the weekends may not be the only change to regional transportation in the future.
Some Steamboat Springs City Council members have pondered whether it is time to discuss expanding the regional transportation system as a way to address the scarcity of housing inside city limits.
Buses between other communities in Routt County could make it easier for workers to live there and commute.
A committee focused on transportation issues was discussing regional transportation expansion until the economy crashed.
With housing issues beginning to surface again, Flint said he expects the conversation will soon be revived.
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