RTA bus schedule expanding this spring through the fall

Every month sets a new ridership record

By Mark Reaman 

With the Gunnison Valley Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) setting ridership records pretty much every month these days, the spring-through-fall schedule will kick in next month and provide a significant increase in the number of daily roundtrips from last year’s schedule. The robust spring schedule will start April 3, and there will be 28 trips a day compared to last year when there were 19. During winter ski season there are 35 roundtrips each day. 

“We are increasing the schedule to provide better consistency for the passengers and to help drivers have the chance for a year-round job,” explained RTA executive director Scott Truex to the board at its March 24 meeting. 

Truex said the RTA carried 38,200 riders this past February, a new record. That was up 40% from February of 2022. He complimented Alpine Express, which runs the bus system for the RTA, for handling a very busy and sometimes challenging winter season. Major snow and periodic driver shortages threw a wrench into the system, but Truex said that Alpine came through. 

Vice president of operations for Alpine Express Jon Galle said that the additional routes, along with the chance to offer drivers housing through RTA-owned affordable housing units, should help Alpine continue to build a solid staff.

Truex reported that the state was beginning the process to likely add a second bus that would run between Denver and the Gunnison Valley. “They have indicated that is very doable, but I have no idea when that might happen,” he said. The state is also looking at a route that heads west from Gunnison to Montrose.

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