Residents get chance to 'steer' city buses

Transit officials seek direction on where to go and where to stay away

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— The residents living along the city's yellow bus line and other lines will get the chance tonight to discuss how far and how often the city's free bus travels through their neighborhoods.

The purpose of the meeting is to gauge public reaction to possible extensions of the transit department's on-call yellow line and to educate people about changes to buses so they comply with the American with Disabilities Act. Transit officials also want to know of any comments, questions or concerns people may have about the department's current service.

The meeting is not meant to be a forum for people to ask for the addition of new routes, said Transit Operations Manager Jonathan Flint. The main problem with servicing new routes, which is a stated goal of the transit department, is that the city has been unable to hire enough drivers. Even if the city had the money to service such areas as Fish Creek Falls Road, it has not been able to hire enough drivers to offer those areas reliable service, said Doug Lockwood, the assistant to the transportation director.

The discussion in regard to the yellow line was sparked by a woman's request to be picked up by the on-call service, Lockwood said. Because she did not meet ADA requirements for para-transit service, the city would have had to make an exception for the resident in order to offer her door-to-door service.

The possibility of extending the yellow line, however, upset some residents in the area around Yahmonite Road who did not necessarily want regular buses in their area, Lockwood said. The yellow line serves areas from Old Town around the old Routt Memorial Hospital and Soda Creek Elementary School to Colorado Mountain College, the Fairview neighborhood and Howelsen Hill. The Old Town neighborhoods are serviced on an on-call basis, meaning buses may come through Old Town a few times every day. The CMC portion of the route is a full-service route (served every 20 or 30 minutes) in the fall, winter and spring but not in the summer, Flint said.

"We've got a fixed asset and what we've got to figure out how to do is balance the needs of those people who want buses with those who don't want them in their neighborhoods," Flint said.

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