Bus fares up, Route 3 streamlined in ‘09

       Higher fares and a change in the Westside's most popular route are in store for bus riders starting Sunday, Jan. 4.
       For the second year in a row, everyday fares on all routes will go up a quarter - this year from $1.50 to $1.75. Paratransit bus rides will increase by 50 cents to $3 a ride. The reasons are budget cuts, flat sales tax revenues and rising operating costs, according to David Menter, transit planning supervisor for Mountain Metropolitan Transit, which is under Colorado Springs government and funded in large part by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA).
       The change will be to Route 3, which goes up and down Colorado and Manitou avenues every half-hour. In the past, on the hour, Route 3 buses swung south of Highway 24 and past Silver Key Senior Services in what was known as the “Bott-Robinson Loop.” That loop will no longer be part of Route 3, Menter said, because few people used it and the Midland area is already covered with Route 32, which runs between Uintah Gardens and the Eighth Street Wal-Mart.
       Transfers will be available between Route 3 and 32 (which overlaps Route 3 on the avenue between 26th and 30th streets).
       “This will benefit far more riders,” Menter said.
       Additional bus efficiency efforts, system-wide, will include the elimination of 12 “low-performing” routes, and the optimization of several other routes, Menter said. Also, the information booth at the Downtown Terminal (at Kiowa Street and Nevada Avenue) will be closed and replaced with an automated route information kiosk and ticket-vending machine.
       An alternative to buses is Metro Rides, a federally funded program that helps people find carpools and other ride-sharing possibilities. Growing in popularity are vanpools, with the program providing the vans, according to Christina Brodsly of Metro Rides.
       For more information on either Mountain Metro or Metro Rides, call 385-7433.

Westside Pioneer/press release