Steamboat Springs Transit’s winter bus schedule starts with some improvements
Beginning Sunday, Dec. 3, Steamboat Springs Transit’s free bus service will shift into winter operations until April 9.
During the winter of 2022-23, the city will be offering 15-minute service intervals for the red and green lines instead of the standard 20-minute intervals, which is only possible because the city’s transit department successfully filled its roster of drivers by recruiting and training drivers from all over the country.
“Some of our drivers that are from southern areas. This was one of their first experiences at least with a major snowstorm,” said the City Transit Manager Jonathan Flint. “So yeah, it’s nice for them to get that experience.”
Shortened service intervals seemed like a tall order earlier in the year, but now the city is even entertaining extending the late night bus service past midnight, as it was before the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Dec. 6, City Council will review options for the extension, which could affect the rest of the city’s bus schedule depending on how the council members decide to extend hours of service. If changes are made, updated schedules and information will appear online.
For early morning and evening service, passengers will use the Main Line, which is a continuous loop between west Steamboat and the mountain area, with 30-minute service intervals from 5:55 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.
Like in previous years, the red line that runs through west Steamboat and downtown toward the mountain will pair with the green line through condominiums to form the “Christmas Line,” as it’s colloquially known, which runs between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Coming from downtown, the red line becomes the green line at the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Walton Creek Road. After doing a loop around the Walton Creek neighborhood, the green line turns back into the red line upon reaching the Gondola Transit Center.
Last year the city added the Yellow Zone and the ExpreSST Line and Flint said they’ve become more and more popular.
The Yellow Zone is a free, on-demand service that is accessed by the Yellow Zone app available on the Apple App Store or Google Play. The Yellow Zone runs from 7 a.m. to 6:20 p.m. daily and services the downtown area and many of its surrounding neighborhoods. Transfers are needed to reach West Steamboat or the ski area.
The ExpreSST Line is the fastest way to get from downtown to the resort. This route goes from eight different downtown stops to the Gondola Transit Area in 20-minute intervals starting at 7:52 a.m. to 11:24 a.m., and again from 1:12 p.m. to 6:04 p.m. The ExpreSST travels directly from the intersection of Third Street and Lincoln Avenue to the Gondola Transit Center, and vice versa.
The purple line services the northern condominiums, Yampa Valley Medical Center, Central Park Plaza, and the gondola base. This route goes from 8 a.m. to 6:40 p.m. and requires a transfer to other lines to reach downtown or West Steamboat.
The orange line will start run from 8:20 a.m. to 6:35 p.m. in 20-minute intervals. The orange line operates only in the mountain area, so transfers are needed to go anywhere past Mount Werner Road. This route is designed to complement the green line in the mountain area — which gets very busy in winter — by bringing passengers to the Gondola Transit Center from the resort’s employee housing at the The Ponds At Steamboat, several hotels and motels on U.S. Highway 40 and several condominium properties.
“Our goal this winter is to really keep that orange line on schedule as much as possible because we know a lot of workers really rely on that one bus being right on time for them,” Flint said.
Flint said he expects ridership on the city’s buses to continue increasing just as it’s been since the easing of COVID restrictions. He said the city has seen a lot of growth in the number of regional transit passengers particularly, saying he expects this year to set the record for regional transit. He expects that trend to continue in local transit as well.
SST’s Regional service between Steamboat Springs and Craig offers three daily departures in each direction. Despite rising gas prices, regional rates remain the same as last year.
Detailed information, routes, maps, schedule times and the comprehensive brochure for the 2022 Winter Service can be found at SteamboatSprings.net/transit or by contacting SST at 970-879-3728.
“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people to get information,” Flint said.
To reach Spencer Powell, call 970-871-4229 or email him at spowell@SteamboatPilot.com
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