RFTA tries to keep pace with detour demand | PostIndependent.com

RFTA tries to keep pace with detour demand

Tom Newland

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority did not know what to anticipate when the Grand Avenue bridge closed on Aug. 14. After two years of planning, RFTA discovered right away that many people in the I-70 corridor, including folks in Parachute, were willing to give transit a try.

What seems to be shaping up is that more and more Hogback bus riders are using RFTA daily, particularly Monday through Friday. On the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 22, RFTA used six extra buses to meet the demand. In the afternoons, on the north side of the downtown Glenwood pedestrian bridge, RFTA has been adding extra buses every 15 minutes during the peak periods.

CDOT gave RFTA riders a huge boost recently by creating a bus lane into Glenwood Springs on Colorado 82 from Buffalo Valley to Blake Avenue. Now, RFTA riders receive a distinct travel time advantage both on their upvalley and downvalley commutes. No wonder people seem to be flocking to RFTA. Many RFTA drivers and supervisors are stepping up by volunteering to work extra shifts to keep up with this daily growing ridership.

There are also three other transit mitigation services:

• Free RFTA shuttles from the Amtrak Station to 27th Street. RFTA modified this service early into the project to be more responsive to demand, rather than adhering to a fixed schedule since most people need to be ferried from the Amtrak Station on Seventh Street to the 27th Street BRT station. In the evening, RFTA reverses the process to ensure that there generally is a shuttle available at 27th Street to receive transfers from downvalley BRT and commuter buses when they arrive. High ridership on this route has also meant that RFTA has added extra buses and supervision to minimize passenger delays and keep people moving toward their final destinations.

• Ride Glenwood provides connectivity between the West Glenwood Mall and the Hotel Colorado/north pedestrian bridge via Donegan Road. During peak commute times, three shuttles run on this service. Hogback bus passengers traveling to/from west Glenwood Springs are encouraged to transfer to/from Ride Glenwood Springs buses that pick up and drop off at the north side of the pedestrian bridge.

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The third system RFTA rolled out, transports riders from the West Glenwood Park and Ride/Meadows area to 27th Street. This service has been helpful in assisting all of the other routes in getting riders from point A to B, particularly along the Grand Avenue corridor.

RFTA believes the word has gotten out that instead of being stuck in traffic for up to an hour in the morning and evening – it's quicker and more comfortable to ride RFTA.

RFTA expects to get ridership numbers tallied within the next week or so. All of the appreciative and positive feedback we have been receiving from riders and the locals is really helping RFTA to push forward through this detour to provide the best service possible.

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