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Prospector bus seeing more ridership

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County considers two loops between G-town, Idaho Springs to boost usage

By Ian Neligh

The county’s Prospector bus nearly doubled its ridership in January over the previous month, and the county is considering eliminating some stops so it can add a second loop through the county in the morning and afternoon.

The bus service started in December and provided rides to only 25 people that month. In January the Prospector provided transportation for 48 people, and county officials hope that number will continue to grow.

County spokesman John Bryan attributed the increase to better education and promotion.

“People are starting to realize, ‘Hey, I can actually go down to Safeway, and I can shop, walk across the street to the post office’ and that the service is available to them,” Bryan said.

A second route

Bryan said the county is evaluating the current routes and schedule in hopes of boosting ridership. The goal is to find a way to add another loop through the county in the morning and afternoon, doubling what is currently offered.

“We’re looking at and adjusting the schedule,” Bryan said. “We’d start at the same time but … take out a few stops (where) we’re not seeing too much ridership.”

The stops likely to be dropped are the Idaho Springs post office and the Mitchell-White Residences.

“We realize that one loop in the morning and one in the afternoon is not meeting the needs of residents and tourism,” Bryan said, adding that the second route could be added by March 1.

County transportation liaison Jo Ann Sorensen said the county is assessing other stops and whether two stops a day are needed, or if one will suffice.

Sorensen said the county’s bus driver is experimenting in her off hours to see how the route could be modified and improved.

“Just from comments that we heard, if there was a better frequency, that might boost the ridership,” Sorensen said.

It costs $2 to travel between Georgetown and Idaho Springs and $1 to travel within a town. Seniors and youths pay half the standard fare, and passengers are asked to bring exact change.

The 14-passenger bus runs in the morning and afternoon Monday through Friday.

The bus, which can accommodate two wheelchairs, was funded in part by a $64,000 state grant and a $16,000 county match. A second state grant for $90,000 and a $73,000 county match pay for operating costs, drivers and maintenance.

Contact Ian Neligh at couranteditor@evergreenco.com, and check www.clearcreekcourant.com for updates and breaking news.