New ‘Bustang’ service to link Vail, Denver; $17 fare one way
What: “Bustang” bus service between Glenwood Springs and Denver.
Sponsor: Colorado Department of Transportation.
Cost of a trip from Vail to Denver: $17
Service begins: Spring of 2015
Buses have: WiFi, toilets, comfy seats.
VAIL — The Bustang is almost ready to run.
The Colorado Department of Transportation will fire up a new bus service —called, yes, the Bustang — between Glenwood Springs and Denver in the spring of 2015. The buses will stop in Eagle and Vail on the way to Denver, with scheduled departures at 8:05 a.m. from Eagle and 8:35 a.m. from Vail. A one-way trip to Denver from Vail will cost $17.
The Interstate 70 route from the mountains will be augmented by similar service to Denver from Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, meaning someone could get from Glenwood Springs to Colorado Springs without a car, although the trip would stretch from early morning to mid-evening.
Department of Transportation representative Amy Ford recently told the Vail Town Council that while the service was announced earlier this year, detailed plans are now in place.
Not your average Bus
Horizon Coach Lines will provide the buses and drivers, and, Ford said, the buses will have Wi-Fi service, places to charge devices and, importantly, restrooms. The buses will be able to carry disabled riders, and have racks and luggage space to haul bicycles and other gear.
Ford said consumer demand was a primary reason the Colorado Transportation Commission decided to create the new service.
“People, especially in the mountains, have told us that their priority is choice, and that means transit,” Ford said. The new regional bus service will tie into local transit service, allowing people to get around without using their cars.
While the bus from the mountains will stop at the Denver Federal Center and Union Station in downtown Denver, Ford said people bound for Denver International Airport will have to take another bus the remainder of the way.
Weekday Service For Now
Ford said the transit service is aimed at people who need to do business in the Denver area. The service will run only on weekdays, and, for now, there’s only one round trip per day planned. The return trip will leave Union Station at 6 p.m., and is scheduled to stop in Vail and Eagle at 8:20 and 8:55 p.m., respectively. That means anyone who wants to take the bus to Vail for a day on the hill would have to spend two nights here.
While the service is aimed primarily at people going from here to there, council members believe the new bus could be a hit.
“I think it’s going to be wildly successful,” council member Margaret Rogers said.
Early projections call for between 20 and 30 people per day to ride from the mountains to Denver. Ford said the idea is for the route to ultimately recover about 40 percent of its costs through fares. That could increase if the service catches on.
“If we start getting to capacity, we’ll add another bus,” Ford said. “We may start a second bus straight from Vail.”
Initial funding for the Bustang is coming from a state fund that uses vehicle registration fees. Ford said the transportation commission will look at re-authorizing the service after five years, so the system will have some time to live up to expectations.