City pulls plug on little-used downtown bridge shuttle |

City pulls plug on little-used downtown bridge shuttle

The idea of the North-South shuttle was to give people an option to using the rather narrow, temporary walkway that’s attached to the Grand Avenue vehicle bridge.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

The largely unused North-South Connector shuttle in downtown Glenwood Springs will officially come to an end as soon as the city can have the contract service provider pull drivers off the route.

What was offered at the start of the tourist season in May as a way to help tourists and others trying to get back and forth over the Colorado River and through the Grand Avenue bridge construction zone on foot while the new pedestrian bridge was being built was only marginally successful.

City Council conceded at a Tuesday meeting that, at a cost of about $11 per passenger, it’s best to end the service now instead of limping along until the scheduled pedestrian bridge completion next March.

The city put up $100,200 and contracted with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority to operate the service. The shuttle has run between the main part of downtown over the bridge to the Sixth Street area between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. each day.

The idea was to give people an alternative to using the rather narrow, temporary walkway that’s attached to the Grand Avenue vehicle bridge.

“Performance on the route has been disappointing,” Glenwood Springs Transportation Manager Tanya Allen said in a memo to the council, noting that weekly ridership peaked at 506 in mid-August, but has declined since then.

The shuttle served 129 riders for the week of Oct. 9, which was the most recent reporting period, she said.

Initially, the route looped clockwise from Eighth Street to Cooper and back onto Grand Avenue, making a pickup stop at Ninth and Grand.

Due to lagging ridership numbers, the route was changed in mid-July to loop from Eighth counterclockwise down Blake to Seventh Street, picking up passengers in front of the Amtrak station, and then back to Grand and across the bridge.

That seemed to boost ridership, but by and large the shuttle never quite caught on like RFTA and city officials had hoped that it would.

Because drivers are still under contract and scheduled to work the route, Allen said RFTA requires some lead time before ceasing operations altogether. Those who do use the service should also be given time to make other arrangements, she said.

The council agreed to end the service on or before Nov. 23. The city will also ask RFTA if the shuttle buses can be used next year during the planned three-month Grand Avenue bridge detour on one of the local shuttle routes that are being planned during that time.

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