New Bustang to Denver makes inaugural run
One-way from Frisco to Denver: $12
Child single ticket: $6
Senior/disabled single ticket: $9
10-ride ticket: $108
Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.ridebustang.com, or directly from each bus.
The shuttle runs once per day, Monday-Friday
Departure from the Frisco Transfer Center: 8:55 a.m.
Arrival at RTD-Denver Federal Transit Center: 10:05 a.m.
Arrival at Denver Union Station: 10:25 a.m.
Departure from Denver Union Station: 6:15 p.m.
Departure from RTD-Denver Federal Transit Center: 6:35 p.m.
Arrival at the Frisco Transfer Center: 7:50 p.m.
The first Bustang departed Glenwood Springs bound for Denver Monday morning, and it still had that new bus smell.
A brief ceremony preceded its 7:05 a.m. departure, with a ribbon cutting presided over by Colorado Department of Transportation and Roaring Fork Transportation Authority officials and Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky.
Tickets aren’t date specific, and seats are first come, first served. So, with 121 advance purchases pending for the line, CDOT brought the spare bus along for the route.
But it turned out not to be necessary. Only a handful of passengers joined the Bustang’s maiden voyage.
Joel Gomez was first on board. After catching a ride up from Denver to visit his family in El Jebel, he discovered his return trip happened to coincide with the launch.
“This is a great service to be able to go back and forth,” he said. “I hope it stays open and available.”
Ken Strong, a longtime local who now lives in New England, planned to catch the Denver RTD’s Route AF bus to Denver International Airport at the end of the line.
“Ever since 1980, to get back and forth from Denver and the airport has been an issue,” he said. “This will help a lot of people do that and make it more affordable.”
Lucinda Hamle makes the trip from Denver to Eagle with some frequency. In the past, she’s opted for other means of public transit.
“It’s nice to be able to let someone else drive,” she said.
It can mean going out of her way, though. To catch the Greyhound she has to bus into Vail first, and Central Mountain Express doesn’t always stop downtown. The Bustang might be her new go-to.
“It’s very comfortable. I’ve been looking forward to it,” she said.
The buses — 13 in total including lines from Colorado Springs and Fort Collins — come equipped with restrooms, bike racks, 100-volt and USB outlets, and even seatbelts. The free Wi-Fi is a bit finicky in Glenwood Canyon and over Vail Pass, but otherwise gives riders a chance to catch up on work or find a diversion online.
After Eagle, the Bustang made stops in Vail, Frisco and Lakewood before reaching Denver’s Union Station about half an hour behind the scheduled 10:25 arrival.
CDOT Transit and Rail Director Mark Imhoff was there to greet it.
“We’re connecting the largest transit agencies in the state,” he explained. “We’re starting small, but we are getting a lot of interest in the western corridor, and it’s highly possible we’ll need to add a second trip, at least part way.”
Public demand may even convince CDOT to expand to weekends.
For now, a single return trip leaves Union Station every evening at 6:15 p.m. to arrive in Glenwood around 9:45.
A one-way ticket runs $28, although bulk and senior discounts are available. Riders can buy tickets at the bus using cash, or prepurchase online or through the smartphone app.
“Local and regional systems are really important, but the next step has always been connecting them with a statewide network,” Colorado Association of State Transit Agencies executive director Ann Rajewski told a small crowd at a press conference Monday afternoon.
CDOT executive director Shailen Bhatt agreed.
“It’s a small step today, but it’s a big step toward a more connected Colorado,” he said.
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