Bustang service to connect Glenwood, Vail, Summit Co., Denver starts July 13
Bustang one-way fares
Vail–Denver Union Station $17 per trip.
Eagle–Denver Union Station $22 per trip.
Frisco–Denver Union Station $12 per trip.
Glenwood Springs–Denver Union Station $28 per trip.
Ft. Collins-Denver Union Station $10 per trip.
Loveland–Denver Union Station $9 per trip.
Colorado Springs–Denver Union Station $12 per trip.
Monument–Denver Union Station $9 per trip.
Book rides and get information at http://www.ridebustang.com
DENVER — The Bustang even has that new idea smell, to go with its new car smell.
The 13-bus statewide bus system rolled out Tuesday for its maiden voyage, a cruise through Denver. The first state-owned and operated bus system starts rolling in earnest Monday, July 13.
They’ll be in Vail for a demonstration on Thursday, June 11, if you want to see for yourself.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
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“We wanted the service to be memorable, and the mustang is part of Colorado, the Broncos, even the blue mustang at DIA,” said Amy Ford, CDOT communications director. “In fact, we hope people verb it. We want people to Bustang into Denver and around Colorado.”
The buses are black and purple, as in Purple Mountains Majesty, which we have in abundance out here in the West, home of the individual and other endangered species.
The idea is to connect as many of Colorado’s local transit systems as possible (six, so far), Ford said. For example, it’ll drop you at the Vail Transportation Center and the Eagle park and ride in Eagle County, where you can pick up an ECO bus or Vail bus to get around.
In Glenwood Springs, you can grab a RFTA bus and roll down the Roaring Fork Valley.
“It starts talking about connecting the state in a way we’ve never connected before,” Ford said.
GOOD NEWS, NOT SO GOOD NEWS
The good news: All this you can do and let someone else deal with driving you around, sort of like they’re part of your entourage.
The bad news: There’s no weekend service; at least not yet.
They wanted to get the buses rolling, Ford said. They’ll add other services in the extremely near future, maybe to Grand Junction, maybe to Pueblo and maybe weekend trips to the mountains.
The east/west line runs from Denver to Glenwood Springs, takes about four hours and stops in Frisco, Vail and Eagle. It does the same thing on the way back, only in the opposite order.
They know about how long it takes because they’ve been doing test runs for the past couple days.
If you’re in the mood to expand culturally with a couple hours watching “Looney Tunes” cartoons while you’re riding, there’s free wifi, 110 volt outlets and USB ports. Work if you feel you must, but cartoons are a better use of your time.
They even have tray tables to help you sit up straight, instead of hunched over with your screen in your lap.
They’re over-the-road coaches, so they have restrooms. They have video screens where you can watch a safety video, or anything else you can get the drivers to play.
Not only is there a spot for you, there’s a spot for your bicycle.
TICKET TO RIDE
So far, CDOT spent $10 million to buy the 13 buses and get the system started. Ford says they expect to spend about $3 million a year to operate it and project they’ll cover about half that in fares.
There are discounts of 10-25 percent if you buy multiple tickets, and do it online. The fare boxes on the buses want cash or prepaid credit cards. Change comes back in ride vouchers; not cash.
“We’ve been a couple years in the planning phases,” said CDOT’s Mark Imhoff, who was resplendent in his purple Bustang shirt and Panama hat.
In keeping with all maiden voyages, Imhoff even lifted a toast to Bustang — sparkling grape juice instead of champagne. These are tax dollars, after all.
“This is about choice. People are telling us they want different ways of traveling, that they want choices in transportation,” Ford said.
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Ivan Jackson joined LIFT-UP as its new executive director in August.