Breckenridge Free Ride starts winter service schedule Friday
Due to limited staffing, Trolley Route will only run on high volume days
Editor’s note: The photo with this story has been updated to show a Breckenridge Free Ride bus.
With ski season in full swing, the Breckenridge Free Ride bus service is ready to support skiers in need of a lift to the mountain, as well as locals on their way to work.
Breckenridge Free Ride’s full winter service schedule kicks off Friday, Dec. 3 as the town of Breckenridge and Breckenridge Ski Resort bring more drivers on board.
When the ski resort opened Nov. 12, the town was not ready to start it’s full winter service schedule due to limited staffing and training delays. Instead, the town continued with a slightly modified summer schedule. Starting Friday, the summer gray routes will become the yellow and brown routes and will run every 15 minutes from 6:15 a.m. until 11:15 p.m.
Vail Resort spokesperson Sara Lococo said the resort supports the town with busing during its operating hours from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., running the black, blue and red routes. The Black Route Express is still run by the town every 30 minutes from 6:15 a.m. until 7:45 a.m. and from 5:45 p.m. until 11:15 p.m.
At the Nov. 23 Breckenridge Town Council meeting, Assistant Mobility Director Matt Hulsey said the ski resort started running a route from Breckenridge Station to Peak 9 to support the summer Gray South Route, which had been a bit overwhelmed with skiers after the resort opened.
The Upper Warriors Mark shuttle will also kick off Friday, making regular trips between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Other winter routes will include the purple A and B routes and the Airport Road Express route. More details on the Breckenridge Free Ride winter service schedule can be found on its website, BreckFreeRide.com.
Earlier in the month at the Nov. 9 Town Council meeting, Hulsey said he was optimistic about staffing.
“We feel pretty good about where we’re heading,” Hulsey said.
His optimism was warranted, as Hulsey shared with council at it’s Nov. 23 meeting that Free Ride is only three drivers short of being fully staffed with 35 drivers employed. Town Manager Rick Holman estimated about 20 of the town’s transitional housing units are being used for drivers.
Until the town is able to hire three additional drivers, the Trolley Route will only run on high volume days — weekends and holidays.
“If we get three more drivers, we’ll be comfortable running the trolley route all day every day,” Hulsey said at the Nov. 23 council meeting.
Hulsey said the process to obtain a Commercial Drivers License takes about three weeks, and drivers go through two weeks of training with the town, as well. He also said Free Ride has a contract with Summit Stage for Commercial Drivers License testing, costing the town $250 per driver. Summit Stage provides the tests and drivers are able to obtain their licenses then and there.
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