Get ready to hit the Hog: New bus service starts Monday |

Get ready to hit the Hog: New bus service starts Monday

The newest Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus route will give those lacking Harley-Davidson motorcycles the chance to ride a roaring Hog. The “Hog,” a nickname for RFTA’s new Grand Hogback bus route, will provide bus service between Glenwood Springs and Rifle. It makes its maiden voyage on Monday, April 15. To promote the service, trips between Glenwood Springs and Rifle will be free to all riders during the first week. The route’s first ride starts at 5:20 a.m. in Metro Park in Rifle. It gets to the Glenwood Mall at 5:59 a.m., drops off its passengers, then turns around and heads west at 6:09 a.m. “Then there’s a bus that leaves six minutes later to Aspen, Carbondale, Basalt, etc.,” RFTA planning director Mike Davis said. Those who are dropped off at the mall can either transfer to that RFTA bus to head upvalley, or pay another fare and take a Ride Glenwood Springs bus within the city. Ride Glenwood Springs bus schedules are also changing to give riders more choices with less waiting. The city buses are set to arrive about 11 minutes earlier at each stop than they do now. This will eliminate the Ride Glenwood Springs buses from shadowing RFTA buses and give riders more opportunities to catch a ride. The new schedule starts on Monday, as well, to coincide with RFTA’s schedule change. The second morning route from Rifle leaves Metro Park at 6:56 a.m. and arrives at the Glenwood Mall at 7:35 a.m. The second bus, however, travels straight through to El Jebel, where it arrives at 8:30 a.m. “Those are the two main commuter trips,” Davis said. “We tried to put in as little transferring as possible.”For trips home after work, the Hogback route leaves a new stop at Eighth Street and Cooper Avenue at 2:03 p.m., arriving in Metro Park at 2:46 p.m. For those leaving later, the downvalley bus leaves El Jebel at 4:25 p.m., stops at the Glenwood Mall at 5:09 p.m. and arrives at Metro Park at 5:46 p.m. A third downvalley run originates at the Glenwood Springs Mall at 6:09 p.m. and arrives at Metro Park at 6:46. This route runs only from Monday through Friday. While taking a local bus from Rifle to Aspen takes about 2 1/2 hours, transferring to an express bus along the way can shave about a half-hour off that time. Between Glenwood Springs and Rifle, the stops include the SuperBowl and Sixth Street in New Castle, the CO-OP/post office and Town Hall in Silt, as well as Cottonwood Mobile Home park, and the Park and Ride at First Street and Railroad Avenue. Then it hits Fourth Street and Railroad Avenue before reaching Metro Park in Rifle. The reaction to the new routes by people in the new service areas has been encouraging, Davis said. RFTA parked buses in all three towns last weekend so people could collect information and schedules for the new routes. “We had about 80 people come in for information about the service,” he said. For those interested in riding the Hog, schedules can be found at town halls, schools, local markets and other places. Punch passes, which cut bus fares in half compared to paying cash, can be bought at City Markets up and down the route. RFTA executive director Dan Blankenship also recently announced upvalley service reductions to take effect April 15. -Bus departures from Rubey Park in Aspen will be reduced from twice an hour to once an hour after 7:45 p.m. during the spring off-season. -Upvalley bus service from El Jebel that would normally be available every 30 minutes throughout the day will be cut down to hourly from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Blankenship said he’s hopeful that similar reductions during the fall off-season can be avoided if the local economy picks up.

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