Regional bus service between Steamboat and Craig gets additional grant funding
County getting new van
Routt County plans to use a $64,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration to purchase a new van that will serve senior citizens.
The van program, which is run by the Routt County Council on Aging, provides things like medicine pickups and other transportation for seniors.
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs Transit will soon roll out more upgrades to the city’s bus system.
The planned improvements include two new diesel-electric hybrid buses that will replace a pair of 18-year-old diesel buses, GPS tracking system upgrades and a potential service improvement to the regional bus line that runs between Steamboat and Craig.
The improvements will mostly be funded by grants the city has received from the Federal Transit Administration for 2015 and 2016.
The FTA provided Colorado transit agencies with $7.3 million in funding for 2016.
Steamboat also was awarded $132,515 of the state’s FASTER funds that will support the regional bus service.
FASTER dollars are collected from increased vehicle registration fees.
Steamboat Springs Transit Manager Jonathan Flint said the city will determine what the additional funding for the regional line will be used for until the budget season, but he’s hoping SST can restore the regional bus service, which provided two buses operating between Steamboat and Craig seven days a week.
The service was recently reduced to one bus a day on weekends because of budget restrictions.
The city has in recent grant cycles been awarded funding for GPS system upgrades.
Phase one of the project was the introduction of the GPS tracking system that allows bus riders follow the buses in real time and use a smartphone app to plan trips.
Flint said phase two of the project will introduce automatic passenger counters in the buses.
The counters will give the transit service a better idea of exactly how many passengers are getting on and off at each stop, and will also provide real time information as to how full each bus is running.
The data could be used to guide future route decisions.
Flint is hoping to have the new counting system in place before the start of the winter bus schedule.
A $75,000 federal grant the city received for 2016 will be used to further expand the GPS system to allow for stops to be automatically announced through the PA system on the buses.
Steamboat’s fleet of diesel-electric hybrid buses is poised to grow from seven vehicles to nine in the coming years.
Flint said the city is planning to issue a purchase order for one of the new 35-foot buses in the coming weeks.
“Right now, it’s typically taking between 14-18 months for a bus to be built and delivered,” Flint said.
For 2016, the city has received another $492,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration that will be used to replace an old bus with a hybrid version.
The grant requires a 20 percent match from the city.
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