Aspen officials decide Tuesday to maintain in-town transit service, along with increasing certain bus routes
Aspen City Council on Tuesday took steps to improve in-town transit services, including pursuing electric bikes in the We-Cycle ride-share fleet and adding service hours in the mornings and evenings to the Cross Town Shuttle that serves the West End neighborhood.
Over the years, previous councils have reduced transit services throughout town, such as offseason hours on the Hunter Creek bus route.
Current council members said they are mindful of workers who need to get to work by 7 a.m. or work late at night, so they support extended hours for popular routes like Hunter Creek.
Council also voiced support for keeping the free Downtowner in-town shuttle, but wants more information on whom it serves, why people use it and how many riders use the service at once.
Council members said they want to get a better idea of whether the Downtowner is serving neighborhoods that aren’t served by fixed bus routes.
“My concern is how to make it effective,” said Mayor Torre, adding the Downtowner isn’t meeting the original goal of providing service from the Rio Grande parking garage to downtown, as well as focusing rides in neighborhoods without extensive transit at night or seasonally. “I don’t think it’s being utilized as it should be.”
The city subsidizes the Downtowner $500,000 annually, along with We-Cycle at $145,000 a year. Both were created to provide alternatives to people driving in town.
Hundreds of thousands also is spent by the city annually on in-town bus service like the Castle/Maroon route, Hunter Creek, Galena Street Shuttle and Mountain Valley.
Council also agreed during its work session Tuesday that the city will continue its moratorium on dockless mobility options like e-bikes, scooters and trikes that don’t have to be returned to fixed stations.
Council members expressed concern about abandoned equipment around town, along with interference with people on the sidewalks and vehicles on the streets.
Meanwhile, city staff will continue to develop a comprehensive plan to manage dockless transportation modes and work with local vendors to see what opportunities exist in the future.