Photo by Matt Stensland
Bus passenger Lisa Swink talks with Steamboat Springs Transit driver Chris Gray on Thursday while riding the bus to the south side of town. With high gasoline prices, some Routt County residents are changing their routines to use public transit.
Steamboat Springs With gas prices soaring to new records, Hayden resident Vance Fulton has taken to leaving his car at home and using Steamboat Springs Transit's regional bus service to get to work.
Fulton owns a diesel truck but ever-higher fuel costs mean he is using his truck less and less, he said. The average price of a gallon of diesel fuel in Steamboat Springs was $4.39 on Thursday.
"I'm riding the bus more and more," Fulton said. "There's more people doing it all the time."
Colorado set new records in unleaded and diesel fuel costs Thursday. A gallon of regular unleaded fuel averaged $3.70, and diesel averaged $4.37, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. However, the statewide averages are lower than Thursday's national average prices of $3.78 for regular unleaded and $4.46 for diesel fuel, which are AAA all-time records, as well.
The overall average price at Steamboat filling stations rose 14 cents this week, from $3.63 on Sunday to an average of $3.77 on Thursday.
Regular Steamboat Springs Transit rider Lisa Swink said she definitely has seen an increase in bus riders this spring.
"The gas prices - they're such a shame," Swink said. "The numbers will keep going up."
Swink suspected further rise in the prices will motivate more people to get out of their cars, especially since Steamboat's buses are so convenient, she said.
"A lot of people already ride the bus here. Our stretch is seven miles - you can go pretty much anywhere," Swink said. "Even when I had a car here, I used it for storage."
Bus driver Chris Gray, servicing the yellow line Thursday, said he has seen plenty of evidence that people are using transit as an alternative to driving themselves.
"I think a lot of people just aren't driving their cars," Gray said. "I see them riding, then I see them driving around town."
Local gas prices vary according to location. The price of a gallon of regular unleaded fuel at 7-Eleven rose 22 cents per gallon this week, from $3.48 on Sunday to $3.70 on Thursday. Still, 7-Eleven tied with Mount Werner Sinclair for the cheapest fill-up.
Fuel Stop on Steamboat's west side posted the lowest diesel prices Thursday, at $4.20 a gallon.