Craig Miners who aren't fond of the drive out to Twentymile Coal Mine have reason to rejoice.
In the past two weeks, the mining company started a trial run on a new program, a free shuttle service to work
Ron Spangler, the mine's human resources director, said the program is a benefit for its miners.
Twentymile is the only local coalmine offering a shuttle-to-work program.
Twentymile changed its schedule from 10-hour shifts to 12 hours, and was concerned about the safety of miners driving long distances after a day's work.
"We did not want people to have to drive an hour to work and an hour after, after a shift," Spangler said. "We just think it's the right thing to do. It's a safety factor above and beyond."
The program is free for workers, all they need to do is "be there when the van departs," Spangler said.
Some workers carpooled previously. The idea behind the program was to give them an extra benefit they could use, Spangler said.
"I think it's gone very well so far," he said. "There's no reason to stop at this point. We try to live up to what we told people we'd do on a consistent basis."
Peabody Energy, Twentymile's parent company, started similar programs at some of its other mines, mostly in Wyoming and Colorado, Spangler said.
Twentymile management still is working out the shuttle service's finer points. As it stands now, 10 vans run a route from Craig with a stop in Hayden and serve nearly every shift, Spangler said.
Management is looking at making the experience better for the workers, he added.
"We're still working to provide vehicles that are a little better than what we have so far," Spangler said. "We're shooting for Greyhound bus-types."
Getting the shuttles to service different shifts through the day and night is still in a state of development, Spangler said. Because the program is new, there is not a timeline for when shifts could be added to the schedule or when new buses could be set on their maiden voyages.