Cars travel along Colorado Highway 131 on Saturday afternoon. An update and presentation of preliminary findings of the South Routt Transit Needs and Feasibility Study is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Oak Creek Town Hall.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Cars travel along Colorado Highway 131 on Saturday afternoon. An update and presentation of preliminary findings of the South Routt Transit Needs and Feasibility Study is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Oak Creek Town Hall.

Voicing vanpool viability

Transit research rolls ahead; input sought from South Routt community

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What: South Routt Transit Needs and Feasibility Study update and public discussion

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Oak Creek Town Hall

— Proposals for transit between South Routt County and Steamboat Springs are leaning towards a subscription vanpool concept, and those involved in the project are hoping for public feedback at a meeting Tuesday as they get closer to laying out details.

"The first go-round of the preliminary study certainly indicated that there's a lot of interest on the part of South Routt residents," County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush, program manager of the South Routt Transit Needs and Feasibility Study, said.

Now, the project's working group is taking a hard look at the numbers, and it will examine detailed options for routes, stops, types of vehicles and fare possibilities.

Colorado Springs-based LSC Transportation Consultants and the project's working group have been weighing transit options for a system between Steamboat Springs and South Routt during the past several months.

However, developing a financial implementation plan for a future system also is a bit muddier than it was in January, when the Routt County Board of Commissioners approved funding for the study, as the county coffers are no longer flush.

"Budgeting is a serious concern," Mitsch Bush said. "We do have absolutely zero money. The question is what can we cut, not what can we add."

Still, Mitsch Bush said she was optimistic a financially feasible system could be designed - with the right balance of fares, funding, scheduling and ease of use.

With rising gas prices, South Routt resident Linda Price said she was sure ridership would rise accordingly.

"I mean insurance, gas, wear-and-tear on your car - if you have a car," Price said. "I think a lot of people would ride it."

However, the small-scale system would have to be available to take people to the right places at the right time, Price said.

"The big thing is the scheduling," Price said.

A phone survey conducted last spring revealed that 46 percent of South Routt residents travel to Steamboat Springs at least five times a week, and an additional 20 percent make the trip two to four times a week.

In that survey, 43 percent of respondents indicated they were very likely to use the transit system. A quarter hoped to hitch a ride at least five times a week, and 37 percent expected they would use transit two to four days a week.

A vast majority of people said they would be willing to pay a fare, with the largest segment of respondents willing to pay $5.

The working group also is toying with whether the transit system should have one route or two, a question that deals mostly with how best to incorporate Stagecoach into the plan.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

skipole 6 years, 1 month ago

Now is not the time to add expences to our budget. With the economy in a recession we need to be cutting way back to bare bones in case its years before economy recovers.

Real estate sales are down and likely ski tourist season will be limping.

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shiftworker 6 years, 1 month ago

Not a dollar should be spent on anything except the absolute necessities. When this economy recovers revisit this idea and other backburner projects.

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