As the Colorado Department of Transportation prepares to run additional “Snowstang” buses on Martin Luther King Day to augment its regular weekend service, officials say the program has been successful so far in its first season of operation.
CDOT says the service is meeting its goal to cover 40% of its costs through rider fares. The rest of the cost for the service is being subsidized by the ski areas involved: Arapahoe Basin, Loveland and Steamboat. The 51-seat buses to Loveland and A-Basin have been running 49% full, according to CDOT. Steamboat buses are running 30% full, exceeding CDOT’s expectation of 25%. And it turns out 40% of the riders are out-of-state or international tourists.
“The cooperative funding by Arapahoe Basin, Loveland Ski Area, Steamboat Resort and the Town of Steamboat means the no-net-cost to taxpayer goal is also being met,” said David Krutsinger, CDOT director of transit and rail. “This is a remarkable achievement.”
CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson said discussions will be held soon to decide whether a separate pilot program — which ran buses from Denver to Estes Park a few weeks last summer and fall — will be made permanent.
“We felt the Bustang to Estes was successful,” Wilson said, “but may need some more time to add passengers.”
As of mid-morning Friday, seats on Snowstang buses this weekend and on Monday were still available. The roundtrip cost for Arapahoe Basin and Loveland is $25, and it is $40 for Steamboat.