Garfield County funds bus-pass program |

Garfield County funds bus-pass program

Phillip YatesGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The Garfield County commissioners on Monday approved allocating about $31,000 to implement a new bus-pass program for county employees.The program would make county employees eligible for Roaring Fork Transportation Authority punch passes and identification passes – a pass that allow riders unlimited rides on the agency’s buses. County department heads or elected officials will purchase the passes using county credit cards and will monitor their use, said Katherine Ross, the county’s human resources director. Commissioners John Martin and Trési Houpt voted in favor of the program, while Commissioner Larry McCown voted against it. The approved motion was contingent on stronger language that said the passes were only to be used for going and coming from work, and other county-related tasks. “We will try it as an experiment and see how it goes,” Martin said.An informal survey of employees conducted by the human resources department found that 48 people wanted to use the county’s proposed commuter program. The estimated cost of the passes for one year would be $30,612. Those passes include a $150-a-month pass that offers unlimited travel between Aspen and Glenwood Springs, a pass that offers unlimited travel on the Hogback route between Glenwood Springs and Rifle, and two different monthly punch passes.Ross said she talked to several department heads, who did not have “a negative (comment) on” the proposed commuter program. “They think it is a positive program,” said Ross, adding there was a large amount of interest in the program from prospective riders who live in the Glenwood Springs area rather than employees who live in Rifle and Parachute.Commissioner Larry McCown voiced concern over the cost of the project and the prospect that only 48 county employees out of hundreds of county employees seemed to have wanted to participate in the program. He also said since the issue was coming at the middle of the year, it should have been an item commissioners considered for next year’s budget.”I am opposed to it,” McCown said. “I don’t think it has been thought out thoroughly.”But Houpt said she imagined that more than 48 people would use the passes. She added the commuter-pass program was an important benefit for the county to retain quality employees, especially as the price of gas continues to rise.”This is one opportunity to keep those people (here) who otherwise may leave our employ for a location closer to home,” Houpt said. “This would be a good solution and benefit for people who work for Garfield County. I think this is a very important benefit in this day and age.”Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117pyates@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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