Letter: Thanks from RFTA
On behalf of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, it was a pleasure to support Glenwood Springs and the region during the 85-day Grand Avenue Bridge closure. The opening of the new bridge on November 7 signified the end of a community challenge of epic proportions. It was a privilege to play a role in helping to make the experience better for beleaguered commuters.
During the closure, RFTA’s GAB services carried over 300,000 riders and skimmed just enough traffic during peak periods to make the detour workable. RFTA’s GAB plan was more than two years in the making. Routes and schedules were developed and RFTA purchased buses, created space to park extra buses, and constructed park and ride facilities. Employees postponed retirement and RFTA cancelled vacations. In addition, RFTA hired and trained new drivers just in time for the GAB service.
After activating the plan on August 14, RFTA rapidly and skillfully adapted to numerous unforeseen challenges. RFTA’s many dedicated employees rose to the occasion and exceeded everyone’s expectations about the positive difference transit could make during the closure.
In order to make the GAB transit services as attractive as possible for users, RFTA ramped up the frequency and waived fares. Although still tallying the bill, the total GAB operating cost may be in the range of $700,000. Gratefully, due to a $335,000 contribution from the Elected Officials Transportation Committee, and a $25,000 contribution from Garfield County, RFTA will not have to shoulder the full amount alone.
RFTA is indebted to the city of Glenwood Springs, Chief Terry Wilson and the Glenwood Springs Police Department, CDOT, Joint Venture, and the Colorado State Patrol, for their tireless efforts to keep things moving during the closure. Without their commitment to make transit services a priority, RFTA would not have been able to serve the public as efficiently and effectively as it did.
Thanks, as well, to the many existing and first-time riders who used transit during the bridge closure. We appreciated the upbeat attitudes and expressions of gratitude that inspired us to serve you!
CEO of Roaring Fork Transportation Authority