The Routt County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on a contract to begin a commuter service from Oak Creek and Stagecoach beginning in March. The service would use 12-person passenger vans.

Photo by John F. Russell

The Routt County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on a contract to begin a commuter service from Oak Creek and Stagecoach beginning in March. The service would use 12-person passenger vans.

Commissioners to consider contract for South Routt commuter service

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— Commuter van service between South Routt and Steamboat Springs could begin as soon as next month.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners today is expected to consider offering the contract for the service to national firm VPSI. The company, which operates more than 5,000 passenger vans across the country, was the only provider to turn in a complete bid to Routt County government. VPSI has proposed to offer the service for about $1,300 a month.

County Commissioner Di­­ane Mitsch Bush applied for a grant from the Federal Transportation Administration to support the van service in 2007, and $12,500 was awarded in September 2009. The Trapper’s Lake Sierra Club has contributed a portion of the required match, and the balance must be generated by rider subscriptions, Mitsch Bush said.

The van service would allow people commuting daily between Steamboat and South Routt to leave their cars behind and opt for a $6 round-trip fare. Service is expected to begin in March.

The first van route would tentatively travel from Stagecoach to Steamboat Springs at about 6 a.m. and return from Steamboat Springs at about 6 p.m. The second route would be from Oak Creek to Steamboat, again leaving at about 6 a.m. and returning from Steamboat to Oak Creek in the early evening.

The two initial 12-passen­­ger vans are expected to have individual seats and reading lights.

Commuters will not be able to hop the vans in the same way they would a public transit bus. Instead, they will be asked to pay for a month’s worth of trips (five days a week) in advance.

In their proposal, VPSI officials told the commissioners they would conduct community meetings in South Routt to market and explain the shuttle service.

VPSI’s business plan entails recruiting and training volunteer drivers with commercial licenses to operate the daily roundtrips in exchange for free passage for themselves. VPSI also will assign a local project manager, and it pledges to keep the vans operational, including arranging a backup vehicle if one is out of service.

This is not the first time local governments have supported public transportation between Steamboat and South Routt.

Go Alpine taxi operated a similar service in the late 1990s and into the beginning of this decade.

Interest in that service, in an era of cheap gasoline, steadily declined.

Go Alpine submitted a single-page standard description of its charter services in response to the request for proposals.

Four other potential providers, including Colorado Mountain Express, Steamboat Springs Transit, Storm Mountain Express and Veolia Transportation acknowledged receipt of the request but did not respond further, according to a memo sent to the commissioners by county building and plant director Tim Winter.

The commissioners are ex­­pected to vote on the contract with VPSI at 3:30 p.m. today in their hearing room in the old Routt County Courthouse in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Comments

greenwash 4 years, 2 months ago

I think this is a good effort by Diane.....This wont work.,It has been tried before and failed.

What if you have kids?What if you need to get home early?Weather?Activities?Sickness?

I guess if you absolutley dont need to be on any schedule it would be OK or if you are single with no responsabilities.

But really this is a waste of time and money.IT WONT WORK!!!!

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 2 months ago

Where can I sign up for this "communter" service? It sounds very interesting.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 2 months ago

I think the real issue is that it needs employer buy in so that their employees that would like to use van pool have work schedules that coincide with van transport times.

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kathy foos 4 years, 2 months ago

What about the rest of South Routt.Are Yampa ,Phippsburg being offered the service also?

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Richard Levy 4 years, 2 months ago

Greenwash: There is a "ride home" provision in the contract.

Sun: There are two Vanpools. Stagecoach to Steamboat AND a Yampa-Phippsburg-Oak Creek Route.

All: Commissioner Diane Mitsch-Bush knows all the details of this program. You can contact her at DMitschBush@co.routt.co.us

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