Steamboat buses to reduce service amid decrease in passengers
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Starting Sunday, March 29, Steamboat Springs Transit will reduce its free, local service, according to a news release from the city of Steamboat Springs.
The announcement comes amid a reduction in ridership and health concerns surrounding the global pandemic of the novel coronavirus.
The transit system is going to start its summer service two weeks earlier than originally scheduled, said Manager Jonathan Flint. This means buses will arrive at stops every 20 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. From there, buses will arrive every 30 minutes, with the last bus leaving the Steamboat downtown area at 11 p.m.
Regional service will not change.
Flint said the reduction in local service is a way to address a decrease in passengers while still providing an essential service for many.
“We understand that many people do not have other options and count on (Steamboat Springs Transit) for their daily transportation needs,” he said in the news release.
During the busier winter months, an average of 6,000 people use the local bus service per day, Flint said. As public health concerns have intensified surrounding the spread of COVID-19, and tourism has been prohibited, those numbers have dropped to about 1,000 passengers per day. Those numbers are slightly below what the transit system records during mud season when Steamboat Resort closes, Flint said.
Under the recent, statewide stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Jared Polis, public buses are considered critical infrastructure that is permitted to remain open.
Bus drivers are practicing increased sanitation measures to prevent the spread of disease, Flint said. For local service, this includes cleaning buses between each loop and a more extensive cleaning of all buses at night. The front seats also have been cordoned off to create social distancing between drivers and passengers.
The transit service asks passengers to use the rear doors when possible, maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and others and to avoid the bus if they have symptoms of a respiratory illness or a fever.
Buses also are providing on-call service to the UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center during the health crisis, Flint said. Those buses are cleaned after each ride.
For a full bus schedule, download the RouteShout app or visit https://steamboatspringstransit.routematch.com/fixedroute.
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More COVID-19 booster shots are getting approved, health officials are saying people can mix or match the brand of these shots, and vaccines for children between 5 and 11 are closer than ever.