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.

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.

Buses filling up, not fuel tanks

Gas prices prompt local drivers to take public transportation


— 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.


rockie29 8 years, 11 months ago

Gas prices are only going to get worse this summer. Places like California and Hawaii have already hit 4 dollars plus the last month or so, and it is coming here by June or July. With the bad economy we are in right now, drivers have to make smarter decisions, and we will see less tourists this summer than ever just like other tourist places. I think the breaking point for consumers is getting very close, and we could see a Depression soon.


424now 8 years, 11 months ago

I don't know about that "Depression" talk but anything that gets more people on Bicycles and walking is OK by me.


Jason Miller 8 years, 11 months ago

Amen to that 424.I ride a trek 820 year round.Compare the cost 250 for brand new bike plus 40 dollars for tune up and another 20 for a new chain at the end of winter.I pay no issurance and dont have to buy gas.


bloggyblog 8 years, 11 months ago

blog thinks ,if you're not inclined to pedal try a scooter. they're super efficient, easy to park and fun!


bubba 8 years, 11 months ago

Gas prices are still cheap in the states compared to the rest of the world (except a few oil producing countries). Unfortunately, we have had cheap gas subsidized for so long that our economy is dependent on it in many ways, but if higher prices are what it takes for people to realize that commuting in a diesel truck doesn't make sense, then these fuel prices are a good thing.

I'm not convinced that this summer's tourism will hurt as bad as Rockie and others say, because there are a whole lot of people on the front range who need somewhere to go and airfare had increased so much, driving is still cheaper. Even if your car gets 10mpg, the round trip from denver is 30 gallons of fuel, at four bucks, that's 120 bucks. People aren't going to skip vacation over 120 bucks- split between 4 people, thats 30 bucks apiece, compared to what, 500 bucks to fly anywhere?

Cry all you want, but high fuel prices are going to mean less local vehicles on the road and more tourist vehicles. Whether that is good or bad is a matter of opinion, but this thought that an extra 50 dollars in fuel is going to prevent anyone from taking a vacation just doesn't make sense. Ski season, which is dependent on airfare, might be a different story.


ColoradoNative 8 years, 11 months ago

That's a real good point Bubba.

I guess I'm just getting real sick of the entitlement people have on the way things should be.

Although higher fuel prices are certainly effecting our economy and food prices I think Good Ole Red Blooded Americans are starting to realize that driving Dually Dodge Trucks 60 miles to work by themselves isn't a good idea anymore.


rockie29 8 years, 11 months ago

We are in a major recession, look at all the airlines that have shut down. Look at inflation. The numbers are all there.


ybul 8 years, 11 months ago

Come on now Rockie, there is very little inflation, look at the government statistics. They tell the whole truth, right???


Retail sales are up... 1.8% this april versus last april.

looking deeper, though... gasoline sales are up 16% yoy, food sales are up 6% yoy. hey, thats great the economy is chugging along just great, look at those impressive numbers.

A wee bit of sarcasm.


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