Gas prices and fare sale may be having an impact
[ By Mark Reaman ]
What seems to be an increasingly popular mode of transportation between Crested Butte and Denver might become even more popular as gas prices increase and bus fares decrease.
Gas prices in the valley have been hovering at about $5 per gallon for a month and for a typical vehicle, the gas cost alone to get from Crested Butte to Denver is more than $50 each way. The state’s Bustang Outrider bus service announced this week that the standard fare between CB and Denver’s Union Station will be discounted 50% between July 1 and September 5 making a one-way trip just $22.50. Gunnison to Denver will cost just $20.
The Colorado Department of Transportation runs the bus service and contracts out the CB to Denver route to Alpine Express.
“We run the route every day, but weekends seem to be the most popular times for people,” said Jon Galle of Alpine Express. “The routes and times have worked out reasonably well. It is really unknown if the higher gas prices are impacting a lot of ridership. For some of our passengers, yes, there is more thought given to whether to take the bus or drive because of the higher gas price. But we feel the prime motivator is having Crested Butte added to the schedule instead of having to get it in Gunnison that has increased ridership.”
The Crested Butte origination started in March of this year. In April 463 passengers were recorded on the eastbound trips with 72 of them starting in Crested Butte. In May, there were 500 total passengers with 41 originating in CB.
For the first few months, the buses used both of the bus stops at the Four-way stop in Crested Butte, but due to congestion at the northbound stop during drop-off, all the buses now pick up and drop off at the southbound RTA bus stop in front of the Alpineer at the Four-way stop in Crested Butte and at the Econolodge at 411 E. Tomichi Avenue in Gunnison.
The eastbound schedule starts in Crested Butte with stops in places including Almont, Gunnison, Salida, Fairplay, and ending at Union Station. The bus leaves the CB Four-way Stop at 5:15 a.m. and arrives in Denver at 10:50 a.m. Each bus has 37 seats and includes a restroom and Wi-Fi. More details and ticket information can be foind at ridebustang.com.