South route begins on Tuesday |

South route begins on Tuesday

Dennis Webb
Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” Finding funding wasn’t the only challenge when it comes to restoring Ride Glenwood Springs bus service to the southern part of town.

Finding drivers and a suitable vehicle was adding drama to the situation as recently as last week. But one thing was never in doubt for city engineer Mike McDill: Come Tuesday, the show will go on.

McDill said starting the new route any later than the date the city had promised wasn’t an option.

“That’s an important part of the service, is to be dependable,” he said.

Just how that the new feeder route was going to be operated on its first day had been in doubt for a while last week, but the picture was becoming clearer by week’s end.

The city contracted to have the service operated by Mike Murrell, who has run Valley Taxi in Glenwood for nearly four years. It will consist of a passenger van that will feed into the city’s main Ride Glenwood route, which is provided under a contract with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.

Last week’s problems arose in part because Murrell had bought a van for the service from Snowmass Village but was still waiting on delivery. Murrell finally was able to acquire the vehicle on Friday.

Another question was whether Murrell would be able to find drivers with the required commercial driver’s license. But Murrell said one eligible driver who was out of the country will be returning in time, and Murrell also will be taking the CDL test himself on Monday.

“It looks like it’s coming together, just at the last moment,” he said.

That comes as good news to McDill, who as recently as Thursday was preparing for the possibility that the city might have to provide its own vehicle and driver to run the route until Murrell had resolved his logistical challenges. Murrell had been preparing to provide a temporary bus, but wasn’t sure if it would wheelchair-accessible. McDill said the city might have been willing to live with that circumstance, but only for a couple of days.

Murrell said part of the challenge on the driver front was that he had a hard time finding a place locally where he could take his CDL test.

“I hate to depend on other people; that’s primarily why I’m getting my CDL, so that I know I’ll be able to do (the route) in any event,” he said.

City Council cut the south Glenwood route in 2005 to focus service on the core part of town, but decided to restore it after increased revenues from the city’s bus tax made that possible.

McDill said starting up the new service has been something of an adventure. One trick for Murrell has been the short amount of time he’s had to set up the service since winning the contract.

“You’ve got a 30-day turnaround to start with nothing and build something that’s highly regulated. But the city’s working with me and I’m working with them. It seems like it’s all going to come together,” he said.

He said the service may start out with a glitch or two but should be good for Glenwood Springs.

“I’m proud to be working with the city. I’ve got pretty much on my plate but it’s an interesting learning experience and I’m looking forward to it. It’s just more stuff to think about and deal with, but nothing that can’t be handled, and I chose to do it. I’m going to do it the best I can with what I’ve got,” he said.

Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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