Hayden residents get on the bus
Shuttle from Craig now has reserved seating
Hayden — Hayden residents who depend on the bus that comes from Craig to Steamboat in the morning need not worry there won’t be room for them.
They now have reserved seats.
The city of Steamboat Springs began reserving seats for Hayden riders in February.
Four seats on each of the three morning buses that carries commuters to Steamboat now bear signs on their elbow rests that read “Reserved Regional Seat Hayden to Steamboat Springs Passenger.”
Some Hayden residents complained last fall about the lack of available seating when the city of Steamboat Springs asked for more money from the town of Hayden to cover the rising costs of operating bus transportation between Craig and Steamboat.
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They argued the town shouldn’t pay more for service that might not be guaranteed.
The city asked for $4,238 this year, in comparison to last year’s $3,998 request.
Town officials approved the $4,238 request for 2002, based on a solution that would best serve Hayden’s ridership.
The Hayden Town Board will discuss officially giving the city of Steamboat Springs the money Thursday evening.
Some Hayden commuters claimed they had to adjust work schedules when they could not find a seat on the 6:30 a.m. bus and had to ride to Steamboat on the 7:30 a.m. bus.
A third bus, however, began running through Hayden at 7 a.m. to alleviate crowding.
George Krawzoff, Transportation Services Director for the city of Steamboat Springs, interviewed the regional bus drivers to determine if the reserved seats filled a need.
He said he had not heard of anyone missing a ride because of a full bus.
The city’s solution differed from the Town Board’s recommendations.
The board asked for a reservation system and suggested that passengers wishing to get on a full bus be allowed to stand.
The city of Steamboat Springs’ insurance carrier advised against carrying standing riders, Krawzoff said.
A reservation system would also present complexities over time, he said.
If the city allowed Hayden passengers to reserve seats, Craig passengers might demand the same service, he said.
“We were concerned that once we started, we wouldn’t be able to stop,” Krawzoff said.
Unless passengers paid for seats in advance, he said, reservations might outnumber the number of actual passengers.
Bus drivers would also need to verify the identity of passengers, he added, possibly leading to further frustration.
Hayden Town Manager Rob Straebel said he hoped word could get out about the seats intended specifically for Hayden riders.
People can’t take advantage of an asset if they don’t know about it, he added.
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