RTA ridership still lagging from pre-pandemic levels

Hope to get ridership back up…

[ by Mark Reaman ]

While RTA bus ridership continues to be down from 2019 levels, the transit agency said that could be a help for some local students who do not have access to school bus service.

As reported three weeks ago, the lack of school bus drivers in the North Valley came up at the August 13 RTA board meeting and executive director Scott Truex said the RTA is working to get more kids on the morning buses from Crested Butte South. In fact a second bus will pull into the subdivision at 7:40 a.m. to help transport students.

“We couldn’t make the turn into the school at that time so we are using the Center for the Arts turn-off and let the kids off there. That’s on the Safe Route to Schools so it would be easy,” he said. “They would then have to walk to the Alpineer bus stop after school to catch the bus.”

Getting the numbers back up
Overall, Truex said bus ridership was up from last year but still off between 15 and 20 percent compared to 2019 levels. He said he will be working with the Mountain Express on a campaign to get people back on public transit.

A very robust ski season schedule is also being promoted with the hope that workers will return to the comfortable buses as they head up and down the valley.

He reminded everyone that under federal regulations, masks are still required to be worn by bus passengers.

Bus to Denver could start from CB this year
Truex said he has heard from CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) officials about starting the bus that runs from the valley to Denver in Crested Butte. That had been the plan once a new bus storage facility was constructed on the Whetstone Industrial lot but CDOT is ready to try it sooner. Truex said while details are being worked out, that new starting place could begin later this coming fall.

The bus would have to drive up to Crested Butte from Gunnison and likely change drivers once it returns to Gunnison before heading to Denver. He said ideally, the RTA would like to see two daily bus trips running between Crested Butte and Denver but he didn’t think that would happen until 2023 at the earliest.

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