ECO moves to increase Vail Valley bus fares | VailDaily.com

ECO moves to increase Vail Valley bus fares

Chris Outcalt
coutcalt@vaildaily.com
Eagle County, CO Colorado
EVE Eco Bus 2 DT 11-14-08
ALL |

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” ECO Transit officials decided Wednesday to charge more for a Leadville bus routes and multiple-ride bus passes to make up for declining revenues.

The ECO Board suggested increasing the price of the Leadville route from $5 to $8 and discontinuing the 30-day unlimited ride bus pass. The 30-day pass would be replaced with 10- and 20-ride pass options that would cost $2.80 and $2.50 a ride, respectively. Most ECO routes cost $3 per ride.

The changes, which still have to be approved by the county commissioners, would take effect July 1.

“This buys us some time,” said Commissioner Sara Fisher, who also sits on the ECO Board.

Officials began discussing months ago how to cut costs because of the decline in sales tax revenue in the county. Eighty percent of ECO’s budget is made up of money from sales tax.

Depending on sales tax and ridership numbers the rest of the year, more changes to the ECO bus service could have to be made, officials said.

“We don’t want to take things away unless we absolutely have to,” said Jeff Shroll, Gypsum’s town manager and president of the ECO board.

The changes suggested by the ECO board also include charging $25 for a yearly bus pass for seniors and kids 18 and under.

Three local officials spent six weeks studying ECO’s financial problems and came up with the cost-saving recommendations. The group was composed of Shroll, Vail Transportation Manager Mike Rose and Avon Town Manager Larry Brooks.

Fisher said examining ECO’s budget and service has made it clear that community officials and residents need to have a more long-term discussion about transit in the county.

“This is a temporary thing and doesn’t have the sustainability to be the long-term solution,” Fisher said. “We’re all in agreement we need to have a larger conversation about this.”

The commissioners will likely vote on finalizing the changes in the next few weeks.

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.