New Bustang route to connect Grand County to Denver
Beginning in 2021, Grand County residents will have the option to ride to Denver and back thanks to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s planned Bustang expansion.
Bustang, an interregional public transportation system, will roll out new routes in January 2021, including one from Craig to Denver via US Highway 40 with stops in Winter Park and Kremmling.
“I see this as a huge win for our community,” said Michael Koch, Winter Park’s transit manager.
The bus service would run a year-round, daily route starting in Craig in the morning and returning from Denver in the evening. CDOT has not yet released the schedule for the route.
Stops on the route include Steamboat Springs, Kremmling, Winter Park and Idaho Springs.
Koch said the route will provide a level of interregional connection that hasn’t previously existed.
“A huge benefit to Grand County residents is now they have that morning connection down to the Front Range, especially for those vital services like social services or medical services,” Koch said. “So they can go down in the morning and have all their appointments in one day, which I think is really huge for our rural community.”
Last week, CDOT announced its Snowstang routes, which are wintertime, interregional bus lines to ski areas, with a route between Denver and Steamboat Springs.
Koch had lobbied for that route to come through Winter Park, but CDOT ultimately chose to circumvent Winter Park by connecting Denver to Steamboat via Colorado Highway 9 through Silverthorne.
Bob Wilson, communications manager for CDOT’s region 3, which includes Grand County, said the decision was primarily based on Highway 9 being the shorter route.
“It would require going over two passes,” Wilson said of a Snowstang route via Highway 40. “They were trying to find the quickest way they could get between Denver and Steamboat Springs.”
Wilson noted that Winter Park Resort is served by the Winter Park Express and California Zephyr Amtrak routes. However, he said there is always the possibility of a future Snowstang route as the program expands.
Though Winter Park won’t see a Snowstang line this season, Koch is excited for the access a year-round Bustang connection will provide.
“If you look at the Bustang service and the Winter Park Express and California Zephyr service, Grand County residents really have more viable options than they’ve had in the past,” Koch said.
Koch added that he will continue to work with Bustang to show them how to utilize the town’s future transit center at Cooper Creek and potentially to sell tickets there.
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