Northern Colorado residents will be able to take a commuter bus to Denver for $10 each way, once the Colorado Department of Transportation has its new commuter bus program up and running in about a year.
The program intends to run five round-trips each day from the Park-n-Ride at Interstate 25 and Harmony Road, making one stop at the Park-n-Ride at I-25 and U.S. 34, before taking passengers directly to Union Station in Denver. From there, passengers can connect with multiple RTD routes that leave from the station.
Mark Imhoff, director for CDOT’s Division of Transit and Rail, said the Greeley-Evans Transit system currently does not offer service from Greeley to I-25 on U.S. 34, but said there is a possibility the service could be offered in the future, linking the routes and providing bus service from Greeley to Denver.
One-way tickets from Fort Collins will cost $10 and from Loveland will cost $9 . Commuters can get discounted tickets by buying rides in bulk, according to Imhoff.
He said CDOT currently forecasts about 170 to 250 people will use the service each day, but that the department’s forecasts are conservative and they hope to draw more users than that.
CDOT plans to buy 13 buses for the program, with five of the buses for the route between Fort Collins and Denver. The other buses will be used for two other routes CDOT plans to run from Colorado Springs to Denver, and from Glenwood Springs to Denver.
“If demand warrants it, we would run more round-trips per day,” Imhoff said. “We can use those five buses and make more trips. We’ll have an ample amount to do almost anything.”
He said the buses will be similar to Coach or Greyhound buses with bike racks, luggage containers underneath, ample leg room, free WiFi, restrooms and electrical outlets.
CDOT estimates operating costs for the program will be about $2 million per year for the three routes. He said rider fares will offset some of the costs, but the rest of the operating revenue will come from state transit money.
About $7.8 million has been budgeted to purchase the buses, which run about $600,000 each and have a 15-year lifespan, as well as Park-n-Ride improvements, Imhoff said.
The state legislature created the Division of Transit and Rail in 2009, giving the division the authority to operate transit services like this across the state, according to Imhoff, the first director for the division since its creation.
“There are many local transit systems in the state,” Imhoff said. “We don’t provide the local service connections, but we want to connect to them.”
The program doesn’t have a name yet, but Imhoff said that and other details will be ironed out as the program gets closer to implementation.