Skier Ryan Richard waits for a bus along Walton Creek Road on Thursday morning. The city of Steamboat Springs is restoring service to three bus routes later this month. The routes were cut earlier this year because of a shortage of drivers.

Photo by John F. Russell

Skier Ryan Richard waits for a bus along Walton Creek Road on Thursday morning. The city of Steamboat Springs is restoring service to three bus routes later this month. The routes were cut earlier this year because of a shortage of drivers.

Bus routes will be restored

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— Three city bus routes that were cut because of a shortage of drivers will be restored on a limited basis later this month.

Transportation Director George Krawzoff confirmed Thursday that the Yellow, Hilltop and Purple bus routes will come online Dec. 23 after the graduation of eight recruit drivers from bus-driver training. Steamboat Springs Transit still is short 10 drivers, however, and the three lightly used routes will run only from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

"We're catching up on this," Krawzoff said.

The Purple Line may be restored a couple days earlier than the other two routes, Krawzoff said, because of the amount of vacation properties it services.

"They're so wrapped up in reservations at that time," Krawzoff said.

At a Steamboat Springs City Council meeting Tuesday, Kathy Connell of Colorado Resort Services praised the city for restoring bus service to the Purple Line and finding "a different way to skin a cat." Colorado Resort Services manages properties on the Purple Line, including The Rockies Condominiums.

Connell was involved in discussions between resort executives and city staff about how to fix bus route cuts that she called "unacceptable." Connell noted at the City Council meeting that more than 33,000 people rode the Purple Line last winter.

Krawzoff's strategy with the driver shortage has been to maintain service on the heaviest-used routes. The Red Line, for example, had more than 340,000 passengers last year with a cost per passenger to the city of $1.48. The cost per passenger on the Purple Line last winter was $4.25.

Steamboat Springs Transit's gains have been offset by the loss of two full-time drivers, a mechanic and two recruits. Reasons for leaving included the lack of a pay differential between new and returning drivers, better-paying jobs, the cost of housing and the drug test requirement.

"The problem has both ends," Krawzoff said.

Comments

STEMBOATwannabe 7 years ago

This is great news! Where are all the comments NOW?

Residents of Steamboat -- you should all be very happy. This is one CMC parent who will not be purchasing an automobile for their student. Restoring the bus routes is great news.... Now my child can also get to work.

It is too bad they couldn't have kept the bus to CMC going until the smemster was over. The walk to CMC is designed for a billy goat. Although many students at regular universities walk much further distances, I do not think they do it in a.) the altitude or b.) the steep grade of the road. Also most colleges do have a sidewalk for additional safety.

Thank you City of Steamboat.

Maybe with the $$ I don't spend for a car and gas I can................. Another topic for another time...

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STEMBOATwannabe 7 years ago

YEAH!!!! finally things seem to be looking up!

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Aaron Murphy 7 years ago

I hope that the brief absence of the Yellow Line to CMC will encourage more students to use the line. In my experience, a busy day on the Yellow line carried 40-50 passenger trips, and among those were only about ten different CMC students, going to and from town, once to twice a day.

This may seem substantial, but on the main line routes, a bus can carry as many as 80 people, just between Stockbridge and the ski area. That is a 20 minute time span, to carry up to double the passengers the yellow line sees in a single day.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that it is back, I understand the frustration expressed by those who used the bus, but I hope to see the numbers increase above where they were before the route was cut.

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