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Fewer bus riders during X Games

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Although the local bus system was extremely busy during the Winter X Games in Aspen last month, ridership was down from 2007, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority officials said Thursday.

RFTA’s final tally shows it hauled 166,598 passengers on its entire system during the event, which ran Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 24-27. That was down 23,372 passengers or 12 percent from X Games weekend 2007, according to John Hocker, RFTA’s co-director of operations.

Ridership on the special X Games shuttles, which traveled between the park-and-ride lot at the bottom of Brush Creek Road and from Aspen to the X Games venue at Buttermilk, was down 36 percent, Hocker said.

This year’s drop in readership was attributed to eliminating the nightly concerts in Aspen, Hocker said. That reduced the size of crowds flocking into town.

Even with the decline, the event stretched the bus company to the limit. On the weekend prior to X Games, RFTA hauled 72,594 passengers on its valleywide service ” or less half of what it hauled during the X Games weekend.

RFTA enlisted buses and drivers from the town of Vail and Rocky Mountain National Park to supplement its service between Aspen and Rifle, and around the upper valley. The subcontractors hauled 43,633 passengers for RFTA over the event’s long weekend. The cost of the extra service was paid for by the X Games organizers.

Attendance at the X Games cracked the 70,000 barrier this year for only the second time. An estimated 72,500 people attended the four days and nights of events. The record was about 76,000 spectators last year.

The big day was Saturday, when an estimated 29,500 spectators visited Buttermilk over the course of the day. That also was RFTA’s busiest day.


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