RFTA seeks input on future service | AspenTimes.com

RFTA seeks input on future service

Dennis Webb
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is seeking feedback on a range of means for revising routes to improve its bus service.

The end goal of its Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, project is to better meet the demands of a ridership that continues to grow, RFTA assistant planner Jason White told Garfield County commissioners Monday.

“We want to make it speedier and more attractive. We want to make our bus trips up and down the valley as competitive with cars as possible,” he said.

RFTA will begin holding public meetings next week in the communities it serves up and down the greater Roaring Fork Valley to seek reaction to various proposals for changing routes to better meet rider needs. These routes will include a mix of local buses making frequent stops, express buses with fewer stops, and BRT buses that make few stops and take advantage of exclusive travel lanes where possible, user-friendly technologies and easier boarding.

These varying routes would tie in to each other. For example, one proposal calls for a local bus running from Rifle to Carbondale, as opposed to Glenwood as is the case now. Although some bus riders don’t need to travel any farther than Carbondale, others could catch an express or BRT bus from there if they are continuing upvalley.

One proposal would take advantage of local feeder buses in each community, tying in to main trunk lines. White said RFTA hopes to be able to use its own buses for the feeders so local governments wouldn’t have to pay for them.

Kristin Kenyon, also with RFTA, said RFTA is looking at how to meet the needs of both those who prefer to walk to bus stops from core parts of town, and those who take advantage of park-and-ride facilities.

RFTA has met with New Castle about creating a park-and-ride location there. This fall, it also boosted the service frequency of its Hogback route, which serves the Colorado River valley as far west as Rifle.

Garfield County Administrator Ed Green suggested RFTA look at eventually tying in to mass transit systems in Eagle and Mesa counties as well. He said energy companies might be interested in helping fund a bus link to Grand Junction.

“There are a lot of oil and gas employees that come up every day from there,” he said.

RFTA also has been talking to Rifle planning staff about how best to meet needs in areas of that town, such as by providing service to Wal-Mart and Grand River Medical Center instead of to Metro Park. One question it has for Carbondale is whether local service should head farther south on Highway 133 rather than going down Main Street.

After hearing from the public, RFTA expects to begin working next spring on a ballot measure to help fund its BRT project.