With the end of ski season, riders of the free buses operated by the city of Steamboat Springs should be aware of new bus schedules.
Most notable is that bus service now ends several hours earlier.
The last bus headed to the mountain area leaves downtown at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue at 10:44 p.m. During the winter, the last bus to leave the same stop was at 2:24 a.m.
The new schedule is in effect through Dec. 8.
The earlier end to downtown bus service is similar to recent years, said Jonathan Flint, operations manager for Steamboat Springs Transit.
“In the wintertime, we can see a real consistent need,” he said. “What we’re seeing in the summertime is it can be a little bit sporadic.”
Flint said the city stopped offering late-night bus service in the spring, summer and fall about five years ago. Before that, the city offered limited late-night service that ran hourly from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays during those seasons.
“There were a few nights when the demand was there, but there were quite a few nights the buses ran empty or close to empty after 10 p.m.,” Flint said.
Flint said ridership is tracked during different time periods on the different routes.
“Right now, it doesn’t appear there would be a consistent demand for it, but we’re continuing to look at that and continuing to discuss that,” Flint said.
Tracy Barnett, of Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, said her group would like to see late-night bus service from downtown during the summer.
She said it is more urgent to offer late-night service during the winter, when the weather can make walking or biking dangerous. Not having it during the summer can be more of an inconvenience, Barnett said.
“People can walk; people can ride their bikes,” she said.
Later bus service is being offered for people west of downtown who are wanting to get back to the downtown area. The last bus from the west side of town picks riders up at the Snow Bowl bowling alley at 11:44 p.m. and does not go past 13th Street into downtown.
“If there are people on the west end, it will at least get them downtown,” Flint said. “At the bowling alley, there were a lot of people that wanted to get in town on that last bus.”
For more information, visit the transit department’s website at www.steamboatsprings.net or call 970-879-3717.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com