Steamboat Springs Transit increases winter service to and from Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Steamboat Springs Transit increases winter service to and from Craig

Patrick Kelly

Steamboat Springs Transit Manager Jonathan Flint said Wednesday he has a much better feeling about the upcoming winter bus schedule this year than he did last year.

Steamboat Springs Transit plans to use additional state funding to offer more regional bus service between Steamboat Springs and Craig.

"What were looking to do this winter, and moving forward, is to operate two busses in each direction seven days a week," Flint said.

The adjustment carries the regional bus service's traditional schedule into Steamboat Spring Transit's winter season, starting Dec. 6 and ending when the ski area closes.

Everyday of the week, busses will depart Craig at approximately 5:50 and 6:50 a.m., arriving in Steamboat Springs at approximately 6:40 and 7:40 a.m. The evening buses depart Steamboat Springs at approximately 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. arriving in Craig at approximately 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The cost is $6 each way from Craig.

Flint said hopefully the adjustment would help the people who live in Craig but work in Steamboat and depend on the bus to get to and from work, noting that lack of capacity was an issue last winter season.

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"People will still need to plan accordingly, in other words if everybody wants to catch that late bus then it could still overfill and that would be unfortunate for that be full and there be empty seats on the early bus," he advised.

With an early funding commitment from the Steamboat Springs City Council and improved driver recruiting efforts, the transit service plans to avoid a repeat of the major cuts and changes that left many riders frustrated last year.major cuts and changes that left many riders frustrated last year.

major cuts and changes that left many riders frustrated last year.

That means no more Aqua Line and transfers between west Steamboat and the ski area.

“I know the staff and the drivers and I think everyone in the city is looking forward to getting these old routes back up and running,” Flint said. “The Yellow Line is back to the way it was. The Purple Line is back to the way it was.”

The schedule the city ran in the 2013-14 winter season was used as the template for the proposed routes this year.

Flint said one of the minor tweaks that could be made to the upcoming schedule is to have the winter Yellow Line run exactly like it does in the summer.

Steamboat City Council will discuss the proposed routes on Tuesday during its all day budget hearing.

Look at the proposed winter schedule in full at the bottom of this story.

A year after it had trouble recruiting enough seasonal drivers it had trouble recruiting enough seasonal drivers to maintain the previous levels of bus service, Flint and SST have been hard at work with their driver recruiting efforts. to maintain the previous levels of bus service, Flint and SST have been hard at work with their driver recruiting efforts.

it had trouble recruiting enough seasonal drivers to maintain the previous levels of bus service, Flint and SST have been hard at work with their driver recruiting efforts.

A supervisor was tasked this year with visiting several transportation companies in the region with brochures and information about driving for SST. Drivers who sign up well in advance of the winter season are also receiving an early bird signing bonus.

And Flint said being able to offer housing to drivers at the city-owned Iron Horse Inn has proven to be beneficial.

“We’re still out pounding the pavement looking for people, and we don’t have all the positions filled at this point for the winter, but I definitely feel much more positive about it this year than last year,” Flint said.

Flint and SST have had more time than they usually do to plan bus routes and recruit drivers for the upcoming season.

SST usually had to wait until October to see what its budget would look like and plan for the service accordingly.

In May, the City Council approved a proposal to allow the transit department to use 14 percent of the city’s general fund for budget planning purposes.

The council essentially assured SST it would not cut its budget this fall.

The funding commitment has allowed SST to propose bringing back the most popular lines that saw significant changes and cuts last winter.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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