CDOT unveils plans to start bus service on Interstate 70
Ryan Summerlin May 9, 2014
EAGLE COUNTY — The Colorado Department of Transportation has announced plans for a bus line from Glenwood Springs to Denver. It will depart from Glenwood around 7:20 a.m. on weekdays and will include stops in Eagle, Vail and Frisco in addition to Denver’s Federal Center and Union Station. A return trip should leave Denver around 6 p.m.
The anticipated price is $28.
“We hope to have it in place by early next year,” said Amy Ford, director of communications for the Department of Transportation.
The project is funded by the 2009 FASTER bill, which raised car registration fees to pay for infrastructure like public transit. The Department of Transportation also intends to add lines from Denver to Colorado Springs and Fort Collins. Glenwood has been considered for service for a couple years, largely due to the Roaring Fork Valley’s robust public transit system.
“We wanted to be able to provide interregional systems that linked major regions to each other, but we didn’t want people to get to the end and be stuck,” Ford explained. The bus line will connect directly to Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s South Glenwood Park and Ride for service from Rifle to Aspen.
GEARED TOWARD LOCALS
With no weekend service and one round trip a day, the Department of Transportation’s plan is mostly geared toward locals.
“The real focus is to provide that commuter service so that people can access services in Denver,” Ford said.
She doesn’t believe the bus will compete with existing transit like Greyhound, Amtrak and Colorado Mountain Express. CME’s charter system caters to skiers and tourists, while Greyhound and Amtrak focus on long distance travel.
Greyhound buses offer daily service to Glenwood, Grand Junction, Vail, Frisco, Idaho Springs and Denver. The bus line connects Denver with Los Angeles, so one stop is often in the early hours of the morning. Amtrak provides train service between Glenwood and Denver as part of its Chicago to San Francisco “California Zephyr” line. The train takes a leisurely northern route with one train in each direction daily and stops in Fraser.
The Department of Transportation expects its bus to serve 20-35 riders a day. The organization is working on contracting a private operator for the route, and is already buying buses that will feature bathrooms and wireless Internet, which they expect will work across most of the I-70 corridor. If all goes well, more frequent service may be added as far as Vail.
“Transit is becoming a bigger and bigger part of people’s lives,” said Ford. “We want CDOT to continue to be the provider of choice in how you travel.”