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City Council allows RFTA to continue service to Glenwood Springs

For the second time this week, city council voted on whether or not to allow RFTA to continue servicing Glenwood Springs amid the COVID-19 crisis.

In a 4-3 vote Thursday night, council approved allowing RFTA to continue operating in Glenwood Springs. 

Mayor Pro Tem Shelley Kaup was joined by councilors Paula Stepp, Tony Hershey and Charlie Willman in supporting RFTA’s continued service.

Mayor Jonathan Godes, along with councilors Steve Davis and Rick Voorhees, did not.  

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“Would you let your grandparents or your parents take the bus or your children during a pandemic?” Voorhees asked. “I don’t think you would. So, why would you think it’s OK for anybody to ride the bus? I don’t get that.”

At its meeting on Monday, council by the same 4-3 vote allowed RFTA to continue operating in Glenwood Springs.

However, some councilors who supported RFTA’s continued service still wanted additional safety measures implemented by Thursday’s meeting. 

“My position hadn’t changed,” Davis said. “So, I won’t support it either. Although, I do appreciate RFTA’s efforts.”

RFTA has said it routinely fogs and disinfects buses and beginning April 13 will require riders to have a face covering.

A city public health order enacted on Tuesday requires Glenwood Springs residents to wear face coverings for all essential activities — such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy — outside of their home.  

“I had a sleepless night last night. This is not easy either way,” Willman said. “But, I think it’s the right decision for right now,”

Willman was satisfied with the additional safety protocols RFTA had implemented, but asked to revisit the issue if COVID-19 cases grew significantly.

“If COVID(-19) virus incidences grow at all significantly, I would be supporting stopping any traffic in and out of town,” Willman said.

According to RFTA CEO Dan Blankenship, if Glenwood Springs ever voted to disallow RFTA from picking up or dropping off passengers within its municipal boundaries, service to Silt and New Castle would likely discontinue, too. 

Rifle has already temporarily suspended RFTA service as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

mabennett@postindependent.com


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