Buses too crowded | AspenTimes.com

Buses too crowded

Dear Editor:I stood on the bus [one recent] morning. Well, that’s not entirely true, another guy and I sat on the stair to the back door. Lucky thing I opted to wear jeans to the office! Like many residents of the Roaring Fork Valley, I commute to work in Aspen from my home in Basalt five days a week. I take the 7:39 upvalley, and the 5:15 downvalley each day. People stand on the bus every day. I am reminded of the summer I spent last year in New York City where the public transportation is always very crowded. One would expect it to be, after all it is New York, but this is Colorado. I don’t like crowds, and I wanted more space; that is why I chose to live here instead. I have called RFTA at least six times to complain that the buses are overcrowded and we need a bigger bus on that line. Most recently I called from the bus Wednesday morning. There were standers after the in-town (Basalt) library stop; by the time the bus picked up the folks at the park-and-ride stop there were at least five people standing. (The back door stair was already full.) They stood all the way into Aspen. How many days are they going to stand before they start opting to drive instead? Thursday morning we got a larger bus. (Perhaps it was in response to my call.) It was great! There was a seat for everyone, and maybe half a dozen to spare. Today, we were back on the small bus, and this time I was the odd man out. Today we didn’t even stop at the park-and-ride. Our bus was full before we even got there. If this doesn’t seem like an important issue, think again. Even if you drive to work you are affected by the fact that there are over 40 people riding the bus to and from Basalt every day, and that’s just Basalt. There are packed buses going to and from Carbondale, and Glenwood too. Every person on the bus is a car that is not on the road, gas that is not consumed, toxins that are not released into the air. Imagine how much worse the traffic would be if all those people drove their own cars to work. Imagine how much harder it would be to find a parking spot in Aspen. When you look at it from that perspective, can we really afford not to accommodate all the RFTA commuters by giving each and every one of them a seat? I don’t think so! What is the problem, RFTA? Why won’t you get us bigger buses? Clearly they are needed! Do you need more financial support to run the company? Last year I voted “yes” on the tax increase that was to go to RFTA, because I know that this is a vital resource for everyone in this community whether they use the service or not. I dare say this is one place in the country where there is no shortage of public funding. I believe that the people of this valley are committed to keeping it pristine and that if more funding is needed to support the public transportation they will step up. Maureen JacksonBasalt