RFTA extends bus service to Rifle today | AspenTimes.com

RFTA extends bus service to Rifle today

Allyn Harvey
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Bus riders have a lot farther to go – beginning today.

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority has extended service down Interstate 70 from Glenwood Springs to Rifle, living up to an election season promise made a year and a half ago.

The extension means that people living in Rifle, Silt and New Castle have one more transportation option for getting to shops, jobs, friends and recreational activities in the Roaring Fork Valley. The buses are running four times a day from Rifle to Glenwood and back.

The first bus was to leave Metro Park in Rifle at 5:20 this morning, according to the schedule published by RFTA. Three more stops in the Rifle area are on the schedule before buses leave for Silt – at Fifth and Railroad, the Park and Ride next to I-70 and a stop up the highway at Cottonwood.

The first bus arrives at Silt Town Hall at 5:35 a.m. and then scoots through town to the Coop/Post Office. From there, it returns to the interstate bound for New Castle, arriving at the corner of Sixth West and Main Street 5:45 a.m. The last stop before Glenwood Springs is at the Super Bowl, near the highway, at 5:47.

Twelve minutes later, the bus pulls into the Glenwood Mall, where riders can connect with a RFTA bus heading to Aspen. Three more buses will follow that early bird run daily, including a 6:56 a.m. bus that travels all the way to El Jebel.

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“Getting the service up and running was a huge priority,” said Alice Hubbard, a RFTA manager. “Glenwood Springs had found it has become Aspenlike in some respects, with a large percentage of its work force living somewhere else.”

The service to Rifle was also a political priority. In November 2000, voters in seven jurisdictions agreed to form a taxing district known as a rural transportation authority to fund and manage bus service between Aspen and Glenwood. As part of their campaign to convince lower Roaring Fork Valley voters, transportation authority supporters promised to begin service to Rifle as soon as possible.

“This service was probably the reason voters in Glenwood Springs voted for it,” Hubbard said.

The difference between the yea and nay vote on the transportation authority in Glenwood was less than 100 votes.

The cost of a ride from Rifle to Aspen is $9. From Silt, a ride to Aspen costs $8. And from New Castle the cost is $7. Punch passes offer a 42 percent discount on the full price ride. They can be purchased at City Market in Rifle and New Castle, and at City Market, Safeway and the Chamber of Commerce in Glenwood Springs.

For more information, call RFTA at 925-8484.