At a glance: Yellow Line changes
• Service to CMC Alpine Campus twice an hour instead of once an hour
• Five additional downtown stops
• On-call service to Steamboat Springs High School
• Advance on-call reservations
• Later service to Hilltop Parkway
Steamboat Springs The test drives are complete.
An abundance of community feedback has been weighed.
Now, Steamboat Springs Transit is ready to roll out a modified version of its Yellow Line bus route that officials hope will attract more riders.
When the free winter bus service schedule starts Dec. 9, the Yellow Line will stop at Colorado Mountain College an additional time each hour, accept reservations for on-call rides 24 hours in advance, and begin serving Steamboat Springs High School.
Five stops also will be added downtown, mostly along Oak Street.
"Based on the feedback we got (at a Nov. 1 open house), these were some of the things people thought were really important," Steamboat Springs Transit Operations Manager Jonathan Flint said. "I'm optimistic we'll start to see the ridership increase."
Flint said 25 to 30 people attended the open house that his transit department held this month to get feedback on the proposed changes and also to seek out new ideas for how to improve the line that was on the chopping block this year. City officials had considered cutting the Yellow Line because it has the lowest ridership and therefore the highest operating cost per rider.
Flint said the added on-call service to the high school is one of the changes that is a direct response to community feedback.
"People had a lot of really good ideas," he said.
The tweaks to the line are not expected to increase the cost of its operation, Flint said.
With an average cost of $10.07 per passenger per ride, it cost the city $289,179 last year to operate the Yellow Line.
To balance the city's 2013 budget, officials proposed cutting the line and drastically reducing evening bus service in the summer.
But after citizen protests, the City Council voted against the $350,000 worth of cuts and decided to instead balance the budget by raising revenue projections for next year.
Council members then gave city officials until Jan. 1 to identify more efficient ways to run the Yellow Line.
Flint hopes that by increasing ridership on the line it will become more cost-efficient.
The city also is in the process of approaching the entities whose members are the major users of the Yellow Line, including CMC, Horizons Specialized Services, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and the Steamboat Springs School District, to seek additional funding to operate it.
Council member Sonja Macys, who is working with the city on its effort to make the line more efficient, said last month she imagines the major users can work together to apply for grant funding.
“The idea is not like we're going to go knock on doors saying, 'Hey, this is your fair share; write us a check," Macys said.
The Yellow Line primarily serves CMC, Old Town, Fairview and neighborhoods along Hilltop Parkway.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com