Residents of Summit County will begin seeing black Summit Stage buses on the roads, as the first of eight hand-me-down buses are deployed on routes this week.
The Stage inherited the buses from the discontinued Front Range Express system for a fraction of the cost of a new vehicle.
The black buses are two seats larger and slightly more luxurious than the older blue-and-white coaches they replaced, featuring air conditioning and advanced climate control, seat recliners with back pockets and cup holders. Transit officials also plan to equip them with interior bike racks next year.
The Summit Stage paid $224,000 for all eight buses, using them to replace eight older coaches, which were sold to Copper Mountain. A single new bus would have cost $419,000.
The inherited vehicles seat 40 people, compared to their 38-passenger predecessors and run 97 percent cleaner than the older models as well. They also feature a low floor design so riders do not need to climb steps to board them, a feature that has concerned elected officials with many passengers wearing ski boots.
All of the new buses are expected to be out on the roads shortly after Christmas, according to transit officials.