Bustang routes could be coming soon to Northwest Colorado | SteamboatToday.com

Bustang routes could be coming soon to Northwest Colorado

A crowded Bustang prepares to depart Glenwood Springs' 27th Street station on the morning after the 2016 X Games.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Northwest Colorado residents may soon find it easier and more convenient to sit back and surf the web on Wi-Fi while bus drivers take them to and from the Front Range.

State transportation officials recently spoke to officials in Steamboat Springs about a possible new bus route that would start in Craig and go through Steamboat and Frisco on the way to the Front Range.

The route would be an extension of the state funded Bustang, which has already been ferrying skiers and other passengers along the Interstate 70 corridor and up and down Interstate 25 between Colorado Springs and Fort Collins.

State Transportation Comissioner Kathy Connell is bullish about Northwest Colorado's chances of getting the new bus lines in the next year or two.

"I think it's very likely," she said Thursday. "We're working on it. We're enthused about it. But just like everything else, it's going to come down to the money."

She predicted there would be some direction on the route extensions as soon as this summer or fall.

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Connell said if the new bus route is implemented correctly, she thinks a mix of skiers and Northwest Colorado residents would utilize it.

She noted that Greyhound already operates a similar route that the state buses would take.

Under the current Bustang system, a ticket from Glenwood Springs to Denver's Union Station costs $28.

The new potential routes are also being designed to accommodate passengers who currently have to drive long distances in their own vehicles to get medical care, including at VA hospitals in Denver and Grand Junction.

Another route being considered would head west through Meeker and Rifle on the way to Grand Junction.

City Manager Gary Suiter said the city suggested the Bustang service include a single trip per day with adequate layover time at the end destination for travel and appointments.

He added a report on the potential bus lines is expected to be published later in the spring.

Steamboat Springs Transit Manager Jonathan Flint was one of the city officials involved in the discussions with CDOT.

He said the Bustang program has seen early successes.

Connell also said it exceeded early expectations.

"One of the goals (of the new routes) is to make the timing very close to what you'd experience in a car," Flint said.

To learn more, visit ridebustang.com.