Eagle County looks for donations to revive late-night buses | AspenTimes.com

Eagle County looks for donations to revive late-night buses

Scott N. Miller
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Vail Daily fileEagle County is looking for sponsors to help restore late-night ECO Transit service for the rest of the ski season.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. – Eagle County transit officials are looking for sponsors for late-night bus service from Vail. According to the ECO Transit agency, it would take about $70,000 to restore late-night service for the rest of this ski season.

Facing a $2 million hole in the 2009 budget, the ECO Transit board increased fares and cut service last summer. Cutting the late-night buses from Vail may have been the most unpopular of the moves.

Ridership numbers indicate that an average of about 40 people per night rode the late-night buses last year. But so far, more than 500 people have signed petitions urging the county to restore the service. The ECO Transit board last week agreed to look for private sponsors to bring back the late-night buses.

“We’re trying to bring it back,” ECO Transit Director Harry Taylor said. Among the biggest problems, he said, is that ECO gets 80 percent of its funding from a dedicated sales tax. Those tax collections dropped more than 20 percent last year.

No one has asked Steve Kaufman for a contribution to the late-night service, yet. But the Taproom owner said he’d like to see more specific financial information before he’d consider a contribution.

Red Lion owner Phil Long had questions about the sponsorship request, too.

“I’d have to think about it,” Long said. “I’d like to know what they’re funding instead of (late-night service).”

But, Long said, late-night bus service is important.

“It’s such a great form of transportation, and it’s not used enough,” he said.


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