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Free ECO buses win fans

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” It seems that some Eagle County residents like the idea of a free bus system, and county officials are thinking up ways to make it happen.

ECOTransit officials are pondering a sales tax ranging from 1/6 cents to a half-cent to generate enough money to cover the loss of fare revenue and pay for growth of the system.

Based on previous years’ growth, bus ridership will grow by at least 27 percent each year, and a free system would probably attract even more riders, County Engineer Eva Wilson said.



To keep the system running, add new local routes, and charge no bus fare would cost the county about $6.2 million.

However, that estimate does not include the other costs that will come with ECOTransit growth, such as new bus stops or building a park-and-ride, ECOTransit Director Harry Taylor said.



Wilson said she received “overwhelmingly positive” feedback from residents about a free bus system, and using a sales tax to pay for it. The response was not only from bus riders, but also business owners who wanted a no-fare bus for their employees to get to work, she said.


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