Late-night buses will be back

Steamboat Springs winter transit service to begin Nov. 23

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Winter bus schedule

Service begins Nov. 23

- Red and Green Lines: Service on the Red and Green Lines begins with buses leaving Dream Island at 5:50 a.m., Village Center at 5:53 a.m. and the Stock Bridge Transit Center at 5:50 a.m. This 20-minute service between West Steamboat, downtown, the Gondola Transit Center and the condos runs until the night bus begins service, with the last bus leaving the Stock Bridge Transit Center at 7:30 p.m.

- Blue and Orange Lines: Service on the Blue and Orange Lines begins with buses leaving the Stock Bridge Transit Center at 6 a.m., Walton Pond at 6:02 a.m. and the Gondola Transit Center at 6:15 a.m. This 20-minute service between Stock Bridge Transit Center, downtown, the Gondola Transit Center and the condos runs until the night bus begins service, with the last bus leaving the Stock Bridge Transit Center at 7:40 p.m.

- Yellow Line: On-call service on the Yellow Line begins at 8:10 a.m. and ends at 5:20 p.m. The Yellow Line serves Colorado Mountain College, the Hilltop Connector route, Howelsen Hill, Fairview and the greater downtown area. To arrange service, call the driver directly at 846-1279.

- Purple Line: Service on the Purple Line begins with buses leaving The Porches at 7:52 a.m. The Purple Line serves Central Park Plaza, Yampa Valley Medical Center and nearby condos. The last bus leaves Central Park Plaza at 5:40 p.m.

- Night Line: The night line serves most stop from the daytime Red, Green, Blue and Orange lines. This 20-minute service begins with buses departing Stock Bridge Transit Center at 8 p.m., the Gondola Transit Center to the condos at 8:16 p.m. and the Gondola Transit Center to downtown at 8:40 p.m. The last bus departs Stock Bridge Transit Center at 1 a.m.

— Late-night bus service will resume later this month when Steamboat Springs Transit launches its winter bus schedule, and the Purple Line will return, offering regular daytime service in the area of Yampa Valley Medical Center.

All positions have been filled at Steamboat Springs Transit for the 2008-09 winter, with new drivers undergoing training through next week, Operations Manager Jonathan Flint said. Regular service on all winter lines will begin Nov. 23, he said.

"We are fully staffed, which is great," Flint said. "It'll enable us to have full service right from the start. Last year, we weren't able to get the full service out there until Christmastime."

The return of the night line - ferrying riders until the wee hours of the morning - will be a welcome change for bus rider Cherry Neumann. With the summer bus schedule, service ended at about 10 p.m.

"People are still out doing stuff until late," Neumann said. "If people want to go out to dinner, have a holiday, that will help them."

Bus service on the main lines will be nearly the same as last winter, with the notable exception that the first passengers will arrive at Gondola Transit Center earlier than last year, shortly after 6 a.m.

"We're going to have a bus that gets out to the condo loop about 20 minutes earlier (in the morning), to bring people from Walton Pond and the entire condo area up to the ski area," Flint said.

The former Hilltop Connector route, cut from the summer bus schedule because of budget constraints, will remain part of the on-call Yellow Line during the winter, Flint said.

Steamboat Springs Transit opted to keep the main lines and night line intact for the upcoming winter because they carry the most passengers, and relegate cuts to low-ridership lines like the Hilltop Connector, Flint said.

The Purple Line, serving Central Park Plaza, Yampa Valley Medical Center and condos north of Mount Werner Road such as The Porches and The Rockies, also will return for the winter. In the summer, service in that area was relegated to the on-call service.

After setting a new ridership record in 2007, with 1.14 million passengers, Steamboat Springs Transit is poised to hit 1.25 million by the end of 2008, Flint said.

The largest gain was during the summer, when buses ferried 84,000 more passengers than 2007 - a 28 percent gain, Flint said.

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