As CDOT considers Steamboat Bustang route, Winter Park lobbies for a stop
A statewide initiative to expand multi-modal transportation could bring an interregional bus line to Grand County.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is working on the 2040 Statewide Transportation Plan and hopes to expand its Bustang routes, an interregional bus line that runs four routes on Interstate 25 from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs and Interstate 70 from Denver to Glenwood Springs.
“We’re going through the process right now to identify three to four, maybe five more routes and we want to spread them over the whole state,” said Michael Timlin, bus operations manager for CDOT.
One Bustang route that is a strong candidate for future planning would connect Denver to Steamboat Springs, cutting through Grand County.
However, Timlin said they are still discussing whether the route would utilize US Highway 40 through Winter Park or if it would run through Summit County via Highway 9.
“We want to do what’s best for the area,” said Timlin, who added that “Winter Park is an interesting place” CDOT would like to service.
Bob Wilson, communications manager for CDOT, noted that routing through Winter Park on US 40 would offer more opportunities for stops.
Winter Park’s transit manager Michael Koch agreed, highlighting the new transit center at Cooper Creek will have a dedicated bus lane for interregional transit, including Greyhound.
“After Kremmling, there’s no population density on Highway 9, really, so I’m arguing to stay on 40 to provide better service to rural residents,” he said. “If they stay on 40, they’ll target larger populations.”
He also believes routing through Winter Park would offer the best service for Bustang riders, as well as Grand County residents.
Koch noted that a Bustang route through Grand County would provide previously unavailable transit options to the Front Range, Steamboat Springs and the state as a whole.
“The residents and visitors of Grand County have never really had public transit options, so this would just provide another option and it would provide access to other parts of the state that we don’t have access to,” he said.
While conversations about the Bustang expansion are ongoing, Timlin said they hope to have the routes nailed down early next year and start running buses regularly in January 2021.
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