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CDOT takes over Gunnison to Denver bus for Outrider route

Good probability bus will start picking up in Crested Butte—sometime

By Cayla Vidmar

There might be a hundred ways to skin a cat, but there’s only five or six ways to get to Denver from Crested Butte (depending on the season). Bad imagery aside, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) took over the Gunnison to Denver bus service in June 2018, formerly run by Black Hills Stage Line, for their Outrider route, which serves rural areas in Colorado. There is a good probability the route will expand to pick up in Crested Butte, but there is no time frame for when the expansion will occur.

According to CDOT communications manager Bob Wilson, CDOT runs Bustang, a bus service that began in 2015 and connects commuters to major hubs throughout the state. At the time, Bustang served the major routes from Denver to Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, and Glenwood Springs. According to the website, 450,000 passengers have been served since its inception.

The Outrider routes were launched in January 2018, with the first route from Lamar to Pueblo. The purpose of the Outrider routes, according to Wilson, is to serve more rural areas and state highways. Since CDOT took over the Gunnison route on June 30, it has served 423 riders.

Alpine Express is contracted to run the buses for the Outrider route, and commuters can expect the same stops, schedule and amenities, including bathrooms and WiFi, as they enjoyed with Black Hills Stage Coach. The bus leaves Gunnison at 6:15 a.m. from the Econo Lodge, and ends with two stops in Denver: the Union Station at 10:50 a.m. and the Denver Bus Station at 11 a.m. Riders can then catch buses to other out-of-state locations, or the light rail from Union Station to the airport and other locations in the Denver metro area. Commuters can also hop on the bus in Denver at around 2 p.m. and arrive in Gunnison at 6:40 p.m. Riders can take a trip to Gunnison for $40 one way, seven days per week.

The 6:15 a.m. pickup in Gunnison can be difficult for those living outside of Gunnison, who don’t have transportation that early in the morning. However, according to Wilson, there’s enough ridership in Crested Butte to justify a stop, and “There’s good probability that a stop in Crested Butte is going to occur, we’re just trying to figure out who’s going to pay for the service: Gunnison, the county, CDOT or some other arrangement.” Wilson couldn’t specify when the expansion to Crested Butte will take place.

Interested commuters can look up the schedule, stops and fares at ridebustang.com.

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