Bustang expansion has CDOT aiming to ‘go big’ to attract riders on bus service | VailDaily.com

Bustang expansion has CDOT aiming to ‘go big’ to attract riders on bus service

Regional routes along I-70 and I-25 will see rapid increases in round trips during three-year pilot

Jon Murray
The Denver Post
CDOT Bustang “Outrider” coaches that service passengers from Craig to Denver. Bustang is a statewide bus service that runs along Interstate 25 and Interstate 70, along with several other “Outrider” routes between smaller cities.
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Colorado’s Bustang system is set to roughly double service along Interstate 25 and more than triple service along Interstate 70 west of Denver under a three-year pilot expansion approved Thursday by the state Transportation Commission.

The regional bus system, launched by the Colorado Department of Transportation in 2015, was growing quickly before the pandemic. But now ridership patterns are in flux, and transportation officials hope the new investment of nearly $73 million into its main lines — to cover future funding gaps and add more service — will attract commuters, vacationers and other travelers by offering more convenient options.

“We’re attempting to go big,” said Amber Blake, the director of CDOT’s Transit and Rail Division, during a Wednesday commission briefing on the plan. “At the end of the day, (the pilot) will be able to prove the viability and the value to Colorado for our Bustang services.”

Bustang’s lines out of Denver’s Union Station — north to Fort Collins, south to Colorado Springs and west as far as Grand Junction — carried 15,208 riders in March, about 74% of the pre-pandemic total for the same month in 2019.

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But the popular I-70 mountain line has more than recovered, with ridership in March running 36% ahead of March 2019. Along the more commuter-dependent I-25 corridor, the south route was still down nearly 62% in March, while the north route was down 55%, according to CDOT figures.

Read more via The Denver Post.

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