Bustang’s first year rolls past expectations | PostIndependent.com

Bustang’s first year rolls past expectations

Trish McClure of Silt buying her first Bustang ticket to Denver Thursday morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

Bustang, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s express bus service that runs from Glenwood Springs to Denver and along the Front Range, celebrates one year of existence this week with surpassed expectations.

CDOT initially wished for Bustang to ease some congestion along major highways, but on the Western Slope, it added a public transportation option in a place with limited choices.

Trish McClure of Silt rode the Bustang for the first time on the anniversary.

“I think it’s great that this option exists,” McClure said. “In the past I’ve rode Greyhound, but this option is cheaper and seems more convenient.”

The trip from Glenwood Springs to Denver runs $29 each way. Bustang gets a $3 million taxpayer subsidy each year.

CDOT offers three Bustang routes: the West line from Glenwood to Denver; the South line, from Colorado Springs to Denver, and the North line, from Fort Collins to Denver.

Over all the routes, Bustang had about 15,000 more passengers than expected in its first year, which is about 36 percent above projections.

“Historically, it takes about a year to build ridership within a new transportation system,” CDOT Director of Transit and Rail Mark Imhoff said in a news release. “Exceeding these initial projections speaks not only to public demand but to the quality experience Bustang offers its passengers.”

Bob Wilson, the CDOT communications manager, said that for the western corridor, the initial projected number for opening day was 18 passengers. The first day had 19 riders, and then the route averaged 44 a day for the rest of that month.

Since then, the route has averaged 65 daily riders in both directions on average for the first year. Because the demand from the West is so high, Bustang now runs every day of the week, while the other two lines run only Monday through Friday.

A group of college students from Denver, Henry Johnson, Monique Spittler and Hannah Gillette, bought their tickets at the door on Thursday.

“Our car broke down at the last minute, and we’re just really trying to get home,” Spittler said. “It’s so nice that we can just show up and get tickets, or I don’t know what we’d do.”

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