Getting around Aspen a free ride
December 9, 2008
ASPEN Getting around Aspen is as simple as walking, but for tired feet or broader neighborhood travel, the city offers an extensive, free bus system.During the winter months, the buses are equipped with exterior racks to hold skis and snowboards (bring ski poles on board).The Rubey Park Transit Center, aka the bus station, on Durant Avenue between Galena and Mill streets (look for the building with the four-sided clock tower and buses parked everywhere) is the hub for both the citys bus system and the broader Roaring Fork Valley transit system serving Snowmass Village, Woody Creek, Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and beyond. Fares are collected on the valley buses, but the citys route are all free.The staff at Rubey Park dispenses bus info and the station stocks brochures that outline bus routes and schedules, but heres a brief overview of whats available within the citys free system.Hunter Creek If you want to hike up Smuggler, but want a bus to take you to the start, this one will get you there. It also passes by Rio Grande Park, the Aspen Art Museum, various housing complexes including Centennial and Hunter Creek, and swings by City Market (the grocery store) on its loop back into town. Makes three loops per hour, leaving Rubey Park on the hour and at 20 minutes and 40 minutes past the hour, from 6:25 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.Cemetery Lane Operates on the hour and half-hour, leaving Rubey Park from 6:42 a.m. to 2 a.m. and serving the Cemetery Lane neighborhood. Will get you quite close to the Rio Grande Trail, which follows the Roaring Fork River in both directions from the bottom of Cemetery Lane. It leaves the intersection of Cemetery Lane and Red Butte Drive the farthest point on its outward-bound run at 12 minutes and 42 minutes after the hour.Castle/Maroon Serves Aspen Valley Hospital, the senior center, Aspen Highlands Village, the Aspen Recreation Center and the Aspen schools campus, operating from 6:20 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, departing Rubey Park on the hour and at 20 minutes and 40 minutes past the hour.Burlingame/Hwy. 82 This relatively new route serves Burlingame Ranch, a worker housing neighborhood outside of town, located roughly across Highway 82 from Buttermilk. It hits other housing complexes (Truscott, Country Inn) plus the Maroon Creek Club and the Aspen Golf Club (winter headquarters of the Aspen Cross-Country Center) along the way. Operates daily from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., with peak hour service every 30 minutes and non-peak service ever 60 minutes. Connects with downvalley buses at the Buttermilk stop.Mountain Valley Dial-A-Ride Serves the McSkimming, Eastwood/Knollwood and Mountain Valley subdivisions on Hwy. 82 east of Aspen and can drop you off near the Aspen Club and Spa. Its a free ride to stops along its route, but for $1, the bus will pick you up at your driveway or take you there in the above-mentioned neighhorhoods. Service twice an hour from Rubey Park, at 15 minutes and 45 minutes past the hour. Departs Rubey Park from 6:30 a.m. to 1:45 a.m. daily. To dial a ride, call 920-9999.Highlands Serves Aspen Highlands, the Aspen Recreation Center and Aspen schools campus twice an hour, running continuously between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and departing Rubey Park at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour between 6:45 and 8 a.m. From 4:30 to 8 p.m., the bus departs Highlands on the hour and half-hour.Galena Street Shuttle Provides continuous service from Hunter Creek to Durant Avenue at The Little Nell and the Silver Queen Gondola plaza. Also passes by the Aspen Art Museum and loops into the plaza above the Rio Grande Parking garage. Stops on demand along the route, operating from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, circulating about every 10 minutes.Cross-Town Shuttle Runs twice per hour on a route stretching from the Aspen Club and Spa on the east side of town to Harris Concert Hall and the Benedict Music Tent in the West End, passing by Rubey Park. Runs twice an hour from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.For information on the fare buses serving points outside Aspen, or a schedule for the city of Aspen bus service, stop by Rubey Park or call 925-8484.