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■ Steamboat Springs Transit free bus, 970-879-3717
Steamboat Springs Local law enforcement agencies are planning extra patrols on New Year’s Eve, when there will be no shortage of alternate transportation options for holiday revelers.
Steamboat Springs Transit operations manager Jonathan Flint said he expects the number of riders who use the city’s free bus service Saturday to nearly double to between 9,000 and 10,000 riders. The bus system will run additional buses on New Year’s Eve, and the buses will run more frequently.
About 5,000 riders take the free bus on a typical winter day.
“It will be the busiest night of the year we run,” Flint said.
Local law enforcement officials asked anyone who chooses to drink on New Year’s Eve to let someone else do the driving.
The Denver Post reported this week that more than 1,300 drivers in Colorado have been arrested for driving under the influence from Thanksgiving weekend through Monday. According to arrest records at the Routt County Jail, 21 have been cited for DUI in Routt County between Nov. 19 and Dec. 23. Another two were cited for driving while ability impaired.
That number is likely to increase with the Colorado State Patrol and Steamboat Springs Police Department conducting additional patrols this weekend.
Police Sgt. Rich Brown said a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation would provide funding to allow the department to pay additional patrol officers tonight and Saturday night. He said the extra patrols would enforce impaired driving.
State Patrol Sgt. Scott Elliott said there also would be additional troopers conducting DUI patrols in the Steamboat and Craig areas.
“We do those for most of the major holidays, particularly New Year’s,” he said.
Routt County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Mellisa Baumgartner wrote in an email that her department won’t staff additional deputies on New Year’s Eve.
“As always, the deputies will be on extra alert, but it will really just be business as usual,” she said.
New Year’s Eve also is among the busiest nights of the year for Go Alpine, which will triple its fleet of taxis and increase its office staff that night, General Manager Tracy Rogalski said.
Rogalski urged people to stay where they are after calling in a reservation and to answer their cellphone when the taxi driver calls.
“If people are a little patient, we will get to them,” she said.
Starting at about 10 p.m., intervals between the city’s buses would be reduced to 10 minutes instead of 20, Flint said. He said additional drivers will be on hand to make sure people are moved efficiently to their destinations. And he said extra buses would be available from Gondola Square after the torchlight parade and fireworks at 7 p.m. at Steamboat Ski Area.
Flint said the city has provided additional New Year’s Eve bus service for all 20 years he has worked for Steamboat.
“We know that it’s very busy and a lot of people are out having a good time,” he said. “It just offers an easy, safe way for people to get transported around and gives people the opportunity to take the free bus and not have to worry about driving and parking. Between us, the lodge shuttles that are out there, Go Alpine and Storm Mountain (Express), those are viable options for people to take so they don’t have to worry about driving.”
Reporter Scott Franz contributed to this story
To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com