November now seen for transit upgrades

       Upgrades to Springs Transit services, which had been announced for this month, have been delayed to November.
       Funded by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) sales tax, the improvements are to include Sunday service, Saturday-night service, transfer stations, seven new buses and more frequent runs for the 11M route through the Westside to Manitou Springs, according to transit officials
       “We are as eager as the community for these new transit services to begin,” said Sherre Ritenour, Transit Services Division manager, “but we also have a responsibility to make certain they can be fully supported by our staff and infrastructure.”
       The issue came up most recently at an RTA board meeting Aug. 10, at which Ritenour was asked if she thought November was actually doable, and she said that at least some of the upgrades will take place then.
       She said afterward that the main reason for any uncertainty stems from Springs Transit's decision to seek bids for the additional 50,000 hours of annual fixed-route service RTA funds will pay for.
       “We're hoping to have a contract awarded by no later than the end of September,” Ritenour said.
       The current contract with Professional Transit Management, calling on the private firm to provide 125,000 hours of annual service, runs through the end of 2006. Seeking bids for the added service is in no way a swipe at that company, she said, because “they're doing a fabulous job. But the most judicious thing we can do is to get the most competitive proposal we possibly can.”
       The service enhancements, when they occur, will be provided at no extra charge to the transit service area except the city of Fountain, which opted not to be part of the RTA.

Westside Pioneer from a press release