The Colorado Department of Transportation is pushing back the start of its “Bustang” regional weekday bus service. CDOT has announced that the service’s previously announced April opening was being delayed indefinitely – “at least until late spring or maybe early summer” – while buses run the routes to refine the time schedules, drivers are being trained and negotiations are completed with other governmental entities over use of park-and-ride facilities. Technology also is being installed to allow riders to track Bustang buses’ location.
Once service starts, the 50-passenger black and purple buses will connect Denver’s Union Station transportation hub with Fort Collins and Loveland. Stops will be at the Harmony Transit Center, near Interstate 25 and Harmony Road in Fort Collins, and a park-and-ride near I-25 and U.S. Highway 34 in Loveland. Two midday routes also will extend to the Downtown Transit Center at Laporte Avenue and Mason Street in Fort Collins.
CDOT’s preliminary estimates are that trips to Union Station in normal traffic will take about an hour and 25 minutes from downtown Fort Collins, an hour and five minutes from I-25 and Harmony, and 55 minutes from Bustang’s Loveland stop.
Each bus will have Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, USB ports, reclining seats, trays, restrooms and bicycle racks as well as overhead and under-bus storage.
CDOT’s fleet of 13 Bustangs were bought for $7.3 million from the Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery (FASTER) Act of 2009, which raised vehicle registration fees and fines to generate about $200 million a year for state transportation projects. About $15 million a year of that is dedicated to transit projects, and the Bustangs will be paid for with that money. CDOT hired Horizon Coach Lines to operate the buses for about $2 million a year.