New Bustang ready to run |

New Bustang ready to run

The Bustang, which will provide service between Eagle County and Denver, is equipped with niceties such as a restroom and WiFi internet access.
Townsend Bessent | |

About the Bustang

For a full schedule and fare information, as well as departure times, go to The Bustang runs from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs on the Front Range, and from Glenwood Springs to Denver through the I-70 corridor.

VAIL — You want to go to Denver but you don’t feel like driving. Don’t drive, but go to Denver anyway.

And do it cheap.

Bustang, the new state-funded bus system, rolled into Vail for its maiden voyage Thursday. It starts rolling full-time on July 13.

“We’re very excited to get the service up and running,” said Colorado Department of Transportation’s Mark Imhoff.

The idea is to connect as many of Colorado’s largest local transit systems, Imhoff said. Those include Eagle County’s ECO Transit and the Vail town system, the Roaring Fork Transit Authority and the Summit Stage.

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In keeping with any maiden voyage, they even had a toast — sparkling fruit juice and not champagne. It’s tax funded, after all.

“We need to commend CDOT for this new venture,” said Ludwig Kurz, Vail mayor pro-tem, as passengers in that maiden voyage raised a class.

Bustin’ out all over

You can catch the Bustang at the Vail Transportation Center and the Eagle park and ride in Eagle County. In Glenwood Springs, you can grab a RFTA bus and roll down the Roaring Fork Valley.

A ride from Vail to Denver will set you back $17, $22 from Eagle and $28 from Glenwood Springs. It’s $12 from Frisco.

Fares are based on 17 cents per mile, Imhoff said.

The Bustang runs from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs on the Front Range, and from Glenwood Springs to Denver through the I-70 corridor.

No weekends yet

For now, there’s no weekend service.

How soon they provide weekend service depends on how successful it is in the early going, Imhoff said.

“The more people who ride, the more we can expand,” Imhoff said. “With some success we’ll be adding some trips to the mountain corridor.”

The buses are easy to spot. They’re black and purple, as in Purple Mountains Majesty, which we have in abundance out here in the West. And while Imhoff said it wasn’t a consideration, they’re also the Colorado Rockies colors. The route ends at Denver’s Union Station, a short and easy stroll from Coors Field or Mile High Stadium.

Bustang benefits

There’s free Wi-Fi, but please don’t waste your time working. You’re riding through the Rocky Mountains. It’s pretty here. Look at some of it. There are also outlets and USB ports. Work if you feel you must, or you can watch “Looney Tunes” cartoons, which is probably time better spent.

The buses also have tray tables, footrests, restrooms and bike racks.

“People are excited about this. We’ve had lots of interest,” said Margaret Bowes with the I-70 Coalition.

So far, CDOT spent $10 million to buy the 13 buses and get the system started. They expect to spend around $3 million a year to operate it and project they’ll cover about half that in fares, which can be paid in cash or prepaid credit cards. Change comes back in ride vouchers, not cash.

They’re looking for 20 percent rate recovery after the first two years, and 40 percent would be nice. That means the buses would be 80 percent full most days.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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