ECO Transit proposes new bus line between Eagle and Gypsum |

ECO Transit proposes new bus line between Eagle and Gypsum

Representatives will appear before Eagle Town Council Tuesday

An Eagle County ECO Transit bus is photographed.

ECO Transit, Eagle County’s bus service, is proposing a new bus line that would offer local service between Eagle and Gypsum, which it says would provide another affordable transportation option and support economic recovery in the area.

Representatives from ECO Transit and Eagle County government will appear before the Eagle Town Council Tuesday to discuss their proposal to launch a year-long pilot program to gauge the cost and ridership of the new line, according to a presentation included in the meeting’s agenda.

They are also likely to request the town’s help in funding the new bus line, Eagle Mayor Scott Turnipseed said Monday. The presentation notes there is clear interest for a local Eagle-to-Gypsum bus, but “funding is an obstacle.”

“I think it’s going to depend a little bit on the dollar amounts,” Turnipseed said. “I have no idea what the council is going to think of it.”

Turnipseed said he had mixed feelings on the proposal but was looking forward to getting more information at Tuesday’s meeting.

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ECO Transit had been having some discussions about adding a bus line that circulates between the two towns pre-COVID-19, and officials now believe the move could help support the community as it recovers from the economic impact of the pandemic, according to the presentation.

Federal funding made available through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations grant is suggested in the presentation as one way to support the first year of the program. The county and ECO Transit would then assess the financial viability of continuing the line beyond the pilot year.

Currently, the towns of Eagle and Gypsum are serviced by ECO Transit’s “valley route,” which runs along Interstate 70 from Vail to Dotsero, with only a few stops upvalley and then local service from Eagle to Dotsero.

This is the only offering for those who commute across the valley, and buses on the valley route only pass once per hour.

The presentation lays out a potential timeline for implementing the new line if ECO Transit decides to go ahead with the project and if it is approved by the Eagle County Board of Commissioners. If approved, the new line would begin operating in November of this year.

When it comes to the cost of the project, the county offers two scenarios for how the new line might operate, according to the presentation.

In the first, the line would offer hourly service from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the year for a total operating budget of an estimated $1,040,250 annually.

In the less-costly scenario, the line would run hourly from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. exclusively on weekdays. This would cost an estimated $475,000 annually.

While the current proposal does not offer more frequent or more expansive stop times than the valley route, it would stop at more locations around the two towns, according to the plan.

The discussion at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting will seek to gather input on who would benefit most from the new service, critical stop locations, days and times, and ideal wait times or stop frequency. Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Eagle Town Hall building located at 200 Broadway Street in downtown Eagle.

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