SAN LUIS VALLEY— Regular bus service from Alamosa to Pueblo will arrive next July courtesy of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) which has received grant money for rural areas from the Federal Transit Administration.
The Transit Alliance/SLV Rural Citizens Academy held a day-long seminar in Alamosa last Thursday to promote the use of the service and discuss the possibility of developing feeder lines that will help Valley citizens make the Pueblo connection from Alamosa.
Service from Lamar to Pueblo begins Jan. 2, 2018. Called the Bustang Outrider, the classy looking new bus that provides the service seats 38 and will be equipped with WiFi, power outlets, restrooms, bike racks and more. The service also will provide covered bus stops for patrons.
CDOT currently has a referral for proposal out for another service from Gunnison to Denver via Salida, Buena Vista, Fairplay and Pine Junction. The service would begin July 1. Service from Durango to Grand Junction also is set to begin July 1. CDOT also is engaged in passenger service discussions with Amtrak.
Another bus service, Roadrunner Express, run by the Southern Ute tribe, wishes to make its services statewide by taking advantage of grants offered for developing future bus routes.
One bus route travels from Gunnison to Montrose and Rifle to Craig. There is also the “Blue Bus” that stops in Costilla and goes into New Mexico, traveling through the mountains and taking in all the little towns. The idea is to somehow use grants to link these existing services and create better transportation for rural communities statewide.
Jeff Prillwitz, representing CDOT at the seminar, encouraged those attending from the various areas of the Valley to invite local governments, county commissioners, local transportation officials, tourism boards, chambers of commerce and any other interested groups to partner with CDOT to help promote the bus service.
Towns could create their own shuttles to Alamosa and other towns to help folks get back and forth and if the service was kept to no more than 15-passengers, could avoid expensive insurance costs. The service could provide employment opportunities for drivers and care providers, he said.
The service will require an investment but if enough people use it, it would eventually pay for itself. Some attending the meeting said that the Amish community might be interested in the service because it is against their religious beliefs to operate motor vehicles, but not to ride in them. Currently they hire drivers to take them to and from their places of work.
Those attending discussed how the service could benefit their community and identified those most needing the service. They used maps to trace routes for future bus travel. They also suggested what interests of Valley residents could be served in developing the bus lines.
Some could be lines for visitors to the Valley, heading for the sand dunes, Hooper pool, the hot springs in the area, Creede, Lake City, the tourist trains in Conejos and other locations. Other lines could provide commuter service for those wishing to go back and forth to work or do shopping and run errands.
Those presenting the seminar emphasized that partners are the key and would be the ones to determine how and where the lines would be established.
For information, contact Prillwitz at 303-757-9526 or Jamie Perkins at 970-222-7587.