Friday, November 19, 2004
Commuters between Craig and Steamboat Springs will see a hike in bus fares Sunday but will have more comfortable seats to ease the pocketbook pain.
The winter bus schedule for Steamboat Springs Transit will go into effect Sunday, bringing longer hours, faster service and, for its regional customers, higher fares.
Fares from Craig to Steamboat and stops in between will increase by 43 percent. The fare will be $5 from Craig to Steamboat, $4 from Hayden to Steamboat, $3 from Milner to Steamboat, and $1.50 from Steamboat II to Steamboat. Commuters will be able to purchase punch cards that give discounted rates.
Fares for the regional service have not increased in 14 years. This year's increases were necessitated by rising fuel prices and other transportation costs. Under the old prices, it cost $3.50 to go from Craig to Steamboat.
The fare hike comes at the same time that two new coach buses will be added to the transit's fleet for the regional service. The $375,000 buses have forward-facing, upholstered, high-back seats with individual air and light controls. The buses also have three bike racks on the front and two luggage bays that can hold skis and snowboards.
The regional bus service offers three buses in the morning and three in the evening. The new buses will be used for the 5:23 a.m. and 6:33 a.m. routes that leave Craig and the 4:20 p.m. and 5:20 p.m. routes that leave Steamboat.
"It is going to be far nicer for the regional route," Senior Transit Supervisor Barry Hoffman said.
Hoffman said the schedule is similar to last winter's, but will add a new stop at the Wildhorse Marketplace shopping center. The stop could push back times later in the route.
Also, after the city bus service starts at 6:10 a.m., Hoffman said it immediately would go into its 20-minute schedule for its two routes. Last year, the 20-minute service was delayed for an hour.
City bus service will end at 2:03 a.m. The last bus will leave the Stock Bridge Transit Center at 1:20 a.m., Ski Time Square for mountain-area condos at 1:43 a.m. and Ski Time Square for downtown at 2:03 a.m.
At night, the bus will switch from 20-minute to one-hour intervals at 11:15 p.m.
The new winter bus schedules should be printed by next week, Hoffman said. It will be posted on bus shelters and available at the transit center, on buses, on brochure racks around town and online at www.steamboatsprings.net.
Hoffman also noted that the transit department is looking for four or five more drivers to fill its roster of 22 drivers for the winter. Driver training begins Monday.
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