AVON — In Buffalo Ridge, getting bus service to the apartments was simply a case of ask and you shall receive.
In talking with representatives from Polar Star Properties and Corum Real Estate Group, the leasing agents for Buffalo Ridge, Avon Transportation Superintendent Jane Burden learned residents there would like some service for this fall and winter.
“Typically when I look at cost associated with providing bus service I’ll just take the number of hours that we’re going to provide that service and multiply it by cost per service hour,” said Burden. “In this case that turned out to be about $118,000 if we were going to run a separate, dedicated route for Buffalo Ridge residents, and that’d just be for peak times ... about four hours per day.”
After seeing those numbers, Burden decided to look for another option.
“In the effort of trying to find a solution of maybe not spending $118,000, looking at something that’s more cost effective we learned we do have some options with some buses,” said Burden.
Those options involved simply working a stop at Buffalo Ridge into the departure from, and evening arrival to, the nearby Swift Gulch housing area where buses are stored.
“This was one of the larger ‘ah ha’s’ since I’ve worked here,” said town manager Virginia Egger. “... These buses coming and going from Swift Gulch can provide a wonderful free service to folks at Buffalo Ridge.”
Wal-Mart stop important
Burden said thanks to a survey by Polar Star Properties and Corum Real Estate, which had 35 persons respond, they were able to determine that the most interest was during the “peak hours” of 7-8 a.m. and 5-6 p.m., with desired destinations were being Avon Center (Station), Wal-Mart and City Market.
“Picture this in the winter — a town of Avon bus leaves Swift Gulch at 6:30 a.m., it goes right to Buffalo Ridge, picks up folks, continues on east, goes right on to Post Boulevard, and continues its route,” said Egger.
Why wait for winter, asked Mayor Rich Carroll, when there’s buses going that way right now?
As a result of Carroll’s suggestion, Buffalo Ridge stops have now been incorporated into the black line’s current Swift Gulch departure and arrival times at 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Expanded service is planned for this ski season.
Avon’s town council was excited about the Swift Gulch Buffalo Ridge connection.
“It’s a great idea, great use,” said councilman Todd Goulding at Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Eagle County’s Eco Bus system, which also uses nine indoor storage spaces at the Swift Gulch facility, is also looking at working some Buffalo Ridge stops into their service.
“Eco is determining which buses they’d be able to accommodate also,” said Burden.
Staff Writer John LaConte can be reached at 970-748-2988 or firstname.lastname@example.org