City considers replacing shuttles | AspenTimes.com

City considers replacing shuttles

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Aspen is looking into replacing the shuttles that cruise city streets during the winter and summer months.

A plan to replace the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority cross-town shuttles is on the agenda for tonight’s City Council meeting. The council is also mulling what type of vehicle should replace the aging Galena Street Shuttles.

Tonight the council may approve replacing two cross-town shuttles with similar vehicles for $51,000 apiece. The current shuttles, purchased in 1998 and 1994, have 150,000 and 185,000 miles on them, respectively.

“They have been very reliable and very good from a maintenance standpoint,” said John Krueger, Aspen’s transportation program manager.

The shuttle route, which is only run in the summer and winter, winds from the Aspen Club on the east end of town, through downtown and to the west end by the Benedict Music Tent.

Replacement of the Galena Street Shuttles will be discussed in early May. The two white-and-red-painted, open-air shuttles run in the summer and winter from the gondola plaza to Hunter Creek.

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The two Galena Street Shuttles were designed with Aspen skiers in mind. They were purchased in 1994. But the manufacturer of the open-air trucks, Northbay Trucking Co., has gone out of business.

“Previously the council wanted to stay with an open-air shuttle, but lately I’ve heard some different things from them,” Krueger said. “We might look at a different type of vehicle and paint scheme. We’ll do some research on what other type of vehicle is out there.”

Krueger said one option is replacing the shuttles with the same type of vehicle as the cross-town shuttles, although the budget for the Galena Street Shuttles is slightly larger, at about $75,000 apiece. The two shuttles have 94,000 and 120,000 miles on them.

“The ridership on these has been good, and they’ve been well received on both types of vehicles,” he said. “I guess it’s just what we can find out there from a cost standpoint that’s doable. It does limit you in what you can find to work.”

All of the current vehicles comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Krueger said that would also be a priority when looking for new vehicles.