Breckenridge to cut Free Ride bus to two routes for summer
Summit Daily News
Breckenridge is preparing to scale back service of its free bus system, the Free Ride, for the spring and summer beginning Saturday.
All routes but the purple and yellow runs will be discontinued until the winter schedule resumes December 10.
One bus will alternate between the purple and yellow routes, picking up from each stop once an hour.
The cuts reflect town’s tightening purse strings, Breckenridge transit officials said.
“Unfortunately, it’s just a sign of the times,” transit manager Maribeth Lewis-Baker said. “The economy has definitely taken a toll. The town has effectuated many cuts, this is probably the first year it was transparent to the public because they’re noticing (the difference) in service.”
The reduction in service will result in the layoff of two full-time employees, and a few seasonal employees will not be hired back, Lewis-Baker said.
Free Ride service has been reduced from the winter to the summer schedule, when ridership tends to drop off, for the last few years, but the reductions in stops and service has not been as significant as it will be this year.
Last summer, the town maintained the orange, brown and black routes, with three buses handling the service. This year, all three of those routes will be eliminated for the summer season, discontinuing service in the Warriors Mark area, the Ski Hill Road neighborhoods and along Main Street in downtown Breckenridge.
The yellow route, which has had the highest summer ridership, will continue to run from Airport Road to Beaver Run, while the purple route, a Summit Stage line contracted to the Free Ride, will travel an interior loop through the Wellington area.
Lewis-Baker said it makes sense to scale back the number of stops and routes in the summertime, when ridership decreases and the cost of operating the buses increases.
“In the winter it’s kind of a necessity, in the summer it’s just one of those nice things,” Lewis-Baker said. “I can understand why (transit) was chosen for service reduction. Hopefully the economy gets better really soon.”
In the winter, bus service is necessary to prevent a traffic gridlock on peak days, when roads and in-town parking are already overwhelmed, Lewis-Baker said.
Town council members approved the service reductions last fall in an effort to balance the budget.
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