Minturn loses one bus trip | VailDaily.com
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Minturn loses one bus trip

Chris Outcalt
coutcalt@vaildaily.com
Minturn, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” A reduction in midday service to Minturn, Colorado is one of two adjustments ECO Transit that limits its winter bus schedule, after falling just shy of hiring a full staff for the season.

Buses will leave Minturn for Vail at noon and 4 p.m. Last season, ECO Transit ran another bus in-between the two routes. The county also decreased the frequency of the Vail-Beaver Creek route from every 15 minutes to every 20 minutes.

“We felt that five minute delay wouldn’t hurt as many people,” said ECO Transit Assistant Director Kelley Collier.



David Johnson, transit planner for ECO Transit, said the group was able to avoid what looked like a major problem a month ago.

“The lack of H-2B visas was a crisis,” Johnson said. “This could have really been an issue but it’s looking pretty good.”



Congress let a visa exemption expire this year that allowed returning H-2B visa workers not to count toward a yearly cap of 66,000 visas per year nationwide. The exemption had made it easier for local employees to fit under the cap.

The Eagle County bus system is still eight employees short and dropped one Minturn route and decreased the frequency of the Vail-Beaver Creak route to accommodate its staffing levels.

The decision the nix the route was based on ridership, Collier said.



“The ridership on that route is the lowest and the midday is the lowest,” she said.

Kathy Morrow, who owns the Minturn business The Yarn Studio, said the four hour gap between service could hurt downtown.

“In terms of what there is to see or do here during the day it really limits them,” Morrow said.

More bus service could also help the town attract new retailers, Morrow said.

The schedule was approved by the ECO Transit Board of Directors last week. Officials will hold a public input meeting on the schedule at 12 p.m., Oct. 27 at the Avon Library.

“We’ll give people a week or two to look at it and make sure it works for them,” Johnson said. “If there is a serious issue we do try to take peoples comments into account.”

To view the full ECO Transit winter bus schedule, visit http://www.eaglecounty.us/eco_transit/

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


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