Rifle, New Castle, Silt set to get on bus

Greg Masse
Special to The Aspen Times

Westward Ho! Two months from today, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority buses will begin providing service from Glenwood Springs to New Castle, Silt and Rifle.

The decision to begin westward service was approved at a RFTA board meeting Thursday. The service will begin on Monday, April 15.

RFTA director Dan Blankenship said cost savings from opening the new bus facility in Glenwood Springs will be enough to fund the new route.

The bus facility will save money for RFTA by terminating bus routes in Glenwood Springs, eliminating the need to drive empty buses back to Carbondale after their rounds are completed.

The board approved four round trips between Glenwood Springs and Rifle, seven days a week. There will be two rides in the morning and two in the afternoon.

Although the schedule, route and fares aren’t finalized, preliminary plans were released on Thursday.

“We’re going to meet with staff tomorrow and start the planning process,” Davis said. “I think we have good support, and I think it’s going to be a big success.”

Representatives from downvalley municipal governments, especially the Glenwood Springs City Council, have been pressuring RFTA in recent months to get the westward service started. They said promises of the service were made during the RTA tax funding election in November 2000, and they insisted the referendum wouldn’t have passed without it.

As a result of that election, Glenwood Springs became a donor city, meaning that, on the whole, its percentage of funding is substantially higher than its rate of ridership.

At the meeting, RFTA board member Dan Richardson said Glenwood Springs upped its funding by more than $1 million as a result of the RFTA vote. Board member Randy Vanderhurst concurred, saying the RTA sales tax measure wouldn’t have passed in Carbondale, either, without the expanded service.

“This is a big condition of our involvement,” Richardson said. “It’s our feeling that our own contribution to RFTA, just as Randy’s contribution to RFTA, is to help with the service west of us.”


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