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Your Morning News - January 8th, 2015

Jan 8, 2015

RFTA Looks to Expand Parking for Riders

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is trying to solve the problem of overflowing parking lots at its bus stops. RFTA’s Board of Directors will consider possible solutions at its meeting today.

Parking lots for bus riders fill up fast in the Roaring Fork Valley. By 8am on weekdays lots in places like El Jebel and Carbondale are packed.

RFTA officials point to positive growth in ridership since the Bus Rapid Transit system started in 2013. Three new parking lots - in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and New Castle are planned. In the meantime, RFTA must find a way to free up spots for transit users. Michael Hermes is Director of Facilities for RFTA.

“There are activities going on at the park and ride’s not related to transit such as ridesharing and patrons of adjacent businesses parking there. So, other uses are taking up spots that are intended for transit users.”

The board will discuss whether RFTA should take enforcement measures to keep drivers out who aren’t intending on taking the bus. RFTA manages more than 800 parking spots in its system from Rifle to Aspen.

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Public transportation is expensive, and officials can have a hard time keeping up with costs. But making sure bus and other services simply continue as they are, is a big goal for officials in Colorado’s Intermountain region. 

Colorado State Patrol

Seat belts could have prevented major injuries in October’s major bus crash near Carbondale. A Roaring Fork Transit Authority bus rolled onto its side, sending at least ten people to the hospital. Less a month later, the federal government decided to require seat belts in exactly the kind of bus that wrecked. The requirement won’t start until 2016. In the meantime, an internal investigation and county traffic court are delving into what happened the night of the accident.

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Residents of the Roaring Fork Valley are saving millions of dollars thanks to the local bus system. That's the conclusion of an independent assessment. It says RFTA’s service reduces commute times, increases public safety and cuts down on the number of car miles traveled per year. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.