Bus users will get the full Ride
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Glenwood Springs City Council will continue full Ride Glenwood bus service, although the service is likely to run $67,000 over budget by year’s end.
The decision came in a work session Thursday morning.
Glenwood Springs’ transportation department had recommended cutting back Ride Glenwood’s service to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in order to maintain the budget, said transportation manager Melissa Laeser.
The bus currently runs from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Usually that decision would be made by the transportation department, but City Council members wanted to have some input in the decision, said Laeser.
Thursday morning, council members agreed, to the pleasure of Laeser and residents at the meeting, to continue full service and go over budget.
The budget shortfall is due to less income from fares on the Ride Glenwood routes, said Laeser.
Though Ride Glenwood’s ridership is at about the same level as it has been in years past, the decreased revenue is the result of an effort to streamline the bus system within Glenwood Springs.
“We wanted a more convenient system within Glenwood,” said Laeser.
Riders can hop a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus on the Ride Glenwood route, paying the fare to RFTA instead of the city bus system.
This change resulted in more ridership overall, but decreased the fare revenue for Ride Glenwood, said Laeser.
In addition to the budget discussion, City Council also discussed a plan to make Ride Glenwood free next year during the Grand Avenue Paving Project, or GAPP.
“We want them (citizens) to do anything – ride the bus, walk, bike – besides getting into a car by themselves,” during GAPP, said Laeser.
On a typical day, 30,000 cars a day drive Grand Avenue in five lanes, said Laeser. During GAPP some sections of Grand Avenue will have just three lanes available, and congestion on the road will increase, she said.
GAPP will extend for 1.1 miles from 8th to 23rd Street along Grand Avenue and is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2004.
The free bus service is proposed to begin the middle of February, one month before GAPP, Laeser said.
GAPP funds will subsidize the loss in revenue from bus rider fares.
Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 535
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