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Bus horror stories

Dear Editor:I have this to say to people who feel a dedicated bus lane is going to solve the Entrance problem: Your plan is great except for one key issue, it assumes that people are actually going to RIDE THE BUS. True, there are many people who DO ride the bus. I am one of them myself, but it is a necessity, not a choice. As soon as I have a car, my bus riding days are over!To RFTA’s credit, they are a very reliable way to get around. For the most part, they run right on schedule all the time, which is more than I can say for any other bus system I have encountered. That being said, it’s miserable riding the bus. They are crowded and loud. There is always someone with earphones turned up so much that you can here what they’re listening to clearly enough to recognize the artist and the song. Often there are less-than-pleasant surprises. Just this morning I got on a bus and started to swing into a seat, but I stopped when I saw a chewed-up apple core sitting squarely in the middle of it. Once before, – no joke, this really happened – I sat down and saw a greenish-yellow substance on the back of the seat in front of me. I made the mistake of scraping it off with my finger: boogers. Disgusting!At night it’s even worse. Going to Basalt at 10:15 p.m., there’s no longer an express bus. You have to take the local, so it takes about 40 minutes from Rubey Park to the Basalt park and ride, painfully long after a 12-hour day. I swear the bus makes every stop between Aspen and Basalt, and the drivers turn on the lights on at every stop. All the riders get on and turn off the small overhead lights immediately. It’s late, everyone just wants to sink into a cavelike darkness and zone out until their stop. But every mile or so these bright fluorescent lights come on, bringing you back to the ugly reality that you’re on the bus. Call me a spoiled American, but I hate it, and I plan to ditch this mode of transportation at my first available opportunity.It’s futile to think that you’re going to get people out of their cars. I’m a local of the most modest of means, and you couldn’t convince me. You think folks who arrive here via their private jet are going to take a city bus to get around? Forget it! They are going to have a chartered van or the like; a city bus is not the answer.There needs to be four lanes of traffic, two going in and two going out. Anything short of that is just not going to solve the traffic problem. It would really be a shame for the city of Aspen to go to all this time and trouble and spend a bunch of money on this problem only to implement a solution that falls short of solving it.The real stinker is that the people who are the most affected by this problem, the commuters, don’t get to vote on the solution, because they’re not residents of Aspen. Aspen residents, who DO get to vote, are hardly effected by the problem, since they live in Aspen already. What do they care if half the valley sits in traffic for 45 minutes? Just keep your hands off their open space, and they’re content to look the other way.Maureen JacksonBasalt


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