Bus won't stop here

Greyhound pulling out of Steamboat Springs as part of route reorganization


— Greyhound Lines will abandon bus service in Steamboat Springs Aug. 18, a company spokeswoman said.

"We will continue to have service between Denver and Salt Lake City, but it will be via Fort Collins, Laramie and Rawlins," Greyhound's Kim Plaskett said. "Steamboat Springs is a location selected (to lose service)."

Plaskett said on average, four passengers per day board the Greyhound in Steamboat to begin a trip -- two headed east, and two headed west.

Other Colorado cities and locations that will no longer be on the Greyhound route map are: Berthoud Pass, Brush, Burlington, Craig, Dinosaur, Fraser, Fort Morgan, Granby, Hayden, Kremmling, Sterling and Winter Park.

From Salt Lake City, Utah, Steamboat passengers enjoyed good connections to Bozeman, Mont.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Boise, Idaho, and Portland, Ore.

The route changes in Northwest Colorado are part of a bigger plan being executed by Greyhound to stem losses and return the company to profitability.

The company announced late last week that in August, it would close 260 stops between Chicago and Seattle, leaving 99 in its 13-state northern region.

Plaskett said the company lost $140 million in 2002 and 2003 combined. Some of the losses are attributable to declining ridership and increased costs since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, she said. The company has had to spend more on insurance and security since the attacks, she added.

Greyhound was in the 15th month of a contract with the city of Steamboat Springs at the Stockbridge Transit Center on the city's west side. The contract provides for a Steamboat Springs Transit employee to act as Greyhound's ticket and freight agent here, and requires Greyhound to compensate the city for the employee's time.

SST operations manager Jonathan Flint said he hasn't received formal notification from Greyhound that the bus company is leaving Steamboat, but he is aware that the change is coming.

"I haven't received any more than a phone call," Flint said. "I'm awaiting written confirmation."

Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said the community calls for Greyhound to reimburse the city for its staffer for up to $11,250 every three months. The contract also allows either party to terminate with 30 days prior written notice.

The contract allowed the city to staff and maintain the transit center building during business hours. It also provided Greyhound passengers with convenient baggage and ticket service as well as a place to get out of the weather. The option was there for arriving Greyhound passengers to connect with city buses, or to call a taxi.

"It just gave (the transit center) one more link," DuBord said.

DuBord predicted the disappearance of Greyhound from Northwest Colorado would be felt throughout the region.

"In my opinion, it's going to be a loss to all of those communities," she said.

Plaskett said 75 percent of Greyhound's business is attributable to trips of fewer than 450 miles and the company is reorganizing to emphasize those routes.

After Aug. 18, the closest Greyhound stop to Steamboat Springs will be on Interstate 70 in Idaho Springs, she said.

Craig also is losing bus service.

Harold Ratzlaff, who has worked at Craig's bus depot for 25 years, said he isn't worried about his livelihood after Aug. 18, when Greyhound Lines, Inc., plans to discontinue its local run.

He's more concerned about the Craig residents who depend on the line.

"It will have a disastrous effect on lots of local people who depend entirely on it for transportation in and out of town," Ratzlaff predicted.

The Associated Press contributed to this

story. To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com


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