New buses for Ride Glenwood Springs
The word is out: The city’s local in-town bus service, Ride Glenwood, is free and growing. Not only is the ridership expanding, but so are the buses. To accommodate seating for all its riders, the city of Glenwood Springs recently purchased two large transit buses from the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) to meet the growing ridership needs of Ride Glenwood Springs.
The ridership boom began in April 2005, when Glenwood Springs City Council decided to eliminate Ride Glenwood Springs fares. In 2006, Ride Glenwood was breaking records every month, including all past ridership records since its beginning in 1998. Monthly ridership numbers have climbed from an average of 12,500 riders (with fares) to more than 30,000 riders throughout most of 2006 (without fares). In fact, December’s ridership came in at an amazing 35,846, giving 2006 the largest ridership number ever with a total of 379,148 passengers for the year. With this success came a desperate need to provide adequate seating for all passengers. At the time, the city of Glenwood Springs owned small cutaway buses with seating for 22 people per bus, but these were unable to accommodate all of the riders. In fact, bus drivers were forced to leave commuters at the bus stops because the buses were full. The city was faced with yet another problem; they had two small buses on order and realized they had already outgrown them. With the city in a bind, RFTA, who the city contracts with to provide operations for Ride Glenwood, stepped in and offered the city their larger transit buses to use as a temporary remedy until the city could figure out a solution.
With RFTA’s large transit buses handling the demands, RFTA asked if the city would be interested in buying two 2005 Neoplan buses. RTFA bought these in February 2006 to replace a large 64-seat articulated bus they lost in a fire in 2005. RFTA offered the city use of both buses to see if they would fulfill the city’s needs. After months of great success, Glenwood Springs City Council approved the purchase of the buses in November. The city purchased one bus in November and the second bus in January. The buses will remain looking like RFTA buses until a later date when the exterior will be graphically designed to work with the Chamber of Commerce “branding theme” for Glenwood Springs, which is planned to be revealed in April.
Sabrina Harris is transportation manager for the city of Glenwood Springs.
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