As Heavy Traffic Weekends Approach, Front Range Ski Bus, Ski Train, Ride Share Provide Choices
As tens of thousands of Coloradans prepare to trek from the Front Range to the ski slopes for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, the I-70 Coalition and CoPIRG Foundation released an updated website – GoI70.com – that highlights 12 services people can use to get to the slopes without driving their personal car. The website also provides information about travel patterns to help people organize the best times to travel, connects travelers with mountain deals that can reduce congestion at peak times, and links to real-time traffic information.
Among the options for the I-70 corridor, the two groups highlighted the Front Range Ski Bus, Bustang, the Winter Park Express ski train, rideshare and carpooling services like SkiCarpool.org, Lyft, Gondola Rideshare App, Uber and numerous shared shuttles from Denver International Airport. In addition, the groups highlighted that the Regional Transportation District (RTD) runs buses daily from Boulder up to Eldora via the N bus.
“The I-70 Coalition sees transit as a key component of the long term solution for the I-70 Mountain Corridor. We actively encourage, support and promote services that will reduce the number of vehicles traveling the corridor, especially on winter and summer weekends. The fact that such transit and mobility services are increasing each year is encouraging.” said Margaret Bowes, Director of the I-70 Coalition.
“When you only have a couple of roads leading to a handful of places that we all want to ski at, we cannot have a system where we all drive our own cars. It’s inefficient, unsafe and pollutes our air,” said Danny Katz, Director of the CoPIRG Foundation. “The good news is people have options to get to their favorite mountains without driving their own vehicle. But those options are not enough. We need more.”
The GoI70.com website is managed by the I-70 Coalition, a non-profit, membership organization made of up of towns, counties and businesses along the mountain corridor who want a long term solution to I-70 capacity and mobility issues. GoI70.com is a tool to pursue positive ways to manage congestion in the short term. One part of the website highlights 12 services and applications people can use to find ways up to the mountains without their personal car including:
· Bustang – bus service operated by the Colorado Department of Transportation that runs two routes daily with stops at Glenwood Springs, Vail, Frisco, Idaho Springs and Denver. In addition, they added an express route during the winter season connecting Glenwood Springs, Frisco and Denver. Ridership on Bustang grew by 52% last year and weekend service was added on all routes.
· Amtrak Winter Park Express ski train – a train operated by Amtrak, which leaves Denver’s Union Station on Saturdays and Sundays and runs to Winter Park and back. In 2016, 18,876 bought tickets and of the 12 Saturdays in which service ran, all but two were completely sold out. Due to increased demand, service has been expanded to include the first Friday of each month. In 2018, the train will run every weekend from January 5 through March 25 with additional trips on February 2 and March 2.
· The Front Range Ski Bus – a privately-operated bus that runs Wednesday through Sunday from Denver Union Station and the Woolly Mammoth Park N Ride off I-70’s exit 259 to Loveland and back. In 2016, they ran 108 buses, transporting over 1800 skiers through the I-70 mountain corridor.
· Ride sharing options including the new Gondola app that organizes shared rides between the Denver metro area and several I-70 corridor resorts.
· Six shared and non-shared shuttle vans that connect Denver International Airport to the mountains.
In addition to the services that connect the Front Range to the mountains, the Goi70.com website also provides information about transit and car sharing services once travelers arrive at their destinations. For example, Lyft recently expanded to the Rocky Mountains and launched its Ski Rack Mode feature to help passengers get to and around the mountains safely and easily. Uber provides both economical and black car ride share options for 1-6 passengers and also offers UberSKI, which can transport ski gear to and from Colorado ski towns.
Some of the options highlighted by GoI70.com were on display at the Woolly Mammoth Park n Ride off I-70’s exit 259 near Golden. The website also highlights local ride share and transit options once you get to mountain communities including three transit services that are free to ride – the Summit Stage, the Breck Free Ride and the Lift connecting Winter Park and Fraser.
The groups also highlighted RTD’s “N” bus which runs from downtown Boulder to the Eldora ski resort, which does not sit on the I-70 corridor. RTD provides seven routes a day, seven days a week. The bus fare is $4.50 each way.
“We applaud CDOT, RTD, Amtrak and the private enterprises that are aggressively working to give people options to get to the ski slopes. However, it is not enough. More funding is going to be the key to providing Coloradans with safe and efficient options,” said Katz.
“We encourage folks traveling Interstate 70 to consider how and when they make their trip, and GoI70.com offers a comprehensive list of options for skiers and riders who want to travel to and around the mountains car-free. ” said Bowes.
Check out the website at www.GoI70.com