Bike Express cut as RFTA ramps up summer service |

Bike Express cut as RFTA ramps up summer service

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority will ramp up bus service in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley on Sunday, but the Bike Express and ZipLine routes that debuted last summer will not return.

With RFTA experiencing declining fare and sales tax revenue, and looking at the need to dip into its reserve funds, nonessentials like the bike bus and the ZipLine got the ax, said Dan Blankenship, RFTA’s CEO.

Also cut this summer is the Highlands direct route between downtown Aspen and Aspen Highlands. Riders will still have service to Highlands every 20 minutes via the city’s Castle-Maroon route.

The Bike Express, launched last year in early June, featured a retrofitted interior that held racks for 12 bicycles with seating to the rear. It left Glenwood Springs in the morning and returned there in the evening, but most of the day, it circulated between Aspen and El Jebel. Riders paid the regular fare plus $2 if they brought a bike aboard.

“It would be nice to have, we wish we could do it, but it’s hard to justify,” Blankenship said, noting RFTA’s belt tightening in response to the economic downturn. “We’re looking to cut things that are going to effect the least number of people.”

The Bike Express was popular with those who figured out its schedule. Other times, it ran empty or nearly so, and carried riders who didn’t have a bicycle.

RFTA buses remain outfitted with racks that carry up to four bicycles on the front of the vehicle and a number of buses will be equipped this summer with interior racks for two more bicycles, Blankenship said.

The ZipLine, which has also been cut, offered a speedy ride down the valley in the morning, connecting Aspen to Glenwood with limited stops between, and returned from Glenwood to Aspen in the afternoon. People didn’t seem to catch onto its schedule, Blankenship said.

“If it had two or three riders per trip, I’d be surprised,” he said.

The resumption of summer bus service in the valley means service every 30 minutes will resume on nights and weekends, starting Sunday. In addition, the Woody Creek Shuttle will resume operation and there will be connections to Snowmass Village every 30 minutes through 12:30 a.m.

All bus service between Aspen and Snowmass will again be free this summer.

The bus from Rubey Park, Aspen’s downtown bus station, to the Aspen Music School campus on Castle Creek Road will begin running June 16. A bus will also run to the Aspen Music Tent before and after performances; the Aspen Music Festival begins its summer season on June 25.

In the city of Aspen, the Cross Town Shuttle and Galena Street Shuttle resume service on Sunday. Late-night service on all of the city’s free routes also resumes Sunday.

Paid parking on Saturdays in Aspen returns on June 13. Parking remains free on Sundays throughout the year.

Bus service to the Maroon Bells begins June 20. The fare is again $6 for adults and $4 for children and seniors. New this year is a Wednesday special – $3 for everyone. The bus travels between Aspen Highlands on Maroon Creek Road and Maroon Lake.

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