Proposed Boreas Pass bus hand-off threatens driver jobs
Talks between county and Breckenridge transit officials on the possible transfer of the Summit Stage Boreas Pass route to the Breckenridge Free Ride has some Stage drivers worried about the future of their jobs with the transit system.
The switch, which has not been approved by the Stage transit board, could cut up to four driver positions from the staff, said Summit Stage transit director John Jones.
If the board approves the transfer, the Summit Stage would contract and pay the Free Ride to take over the Boreas Pass route and service all existing stops. Breckenridge officials say the agreement would have no financial “intent or impact” for either government.
The route’s fate will be decided by the transit board in late February.
The proposed transfer aims to improve service to riders on the route and to decrease drive time between Frisco and Breckenridge, which currently takes approximately 40 minutes.
Handing the route off to Breckenridge, however, will likely mean the permanent elimination of several jobs at the Summit Stage.
“The concern for me is if we (lose) Boreas, it jeopardizes the security of my position,” Summit Stage driver Bryan Moll said. “I might not be hired on next winter.”
For the last two years the Summit Stage has laid off several drivers at the start of the summer schedule, when service is reduced due to budget shortfalls. Some of those positions have been reinstated in the winter.
But with the potential transfer of the Boreas Pass route to the Free Ride, fewer positions will open up for the winter season.
The summer layoffs will continue this year, but Jones said it is still unclear how many jobs will be cut.
“We haven’t begun to look at that because we don’t have a firm summer schedule yet,” Jones said.
The Free Ride would not add any additional jobs as a result of the transfer, Breckenridge spokeswoman Kim DiLallo said.
Currently, the Frisco to Breckenridge Stage bus continues on to service the Boreas Pass route. The system allows passengers to ride between Boreas and Frisco without changing buses, but snow and poor weather conditions on the pass tend to make the bus late getting back to Breckenridge, causing passengers to wait at the Breck transfer station and extending the Breckenridge to Frisco route time.
“It’s not performing in terms of matching up with the regular stage schedule,” said transit board chair Kent Willis. “At least at the end of the day when traffic is heaviest, it tends to run late, which means that the Breckenridge to Frisco bus leaves the Breckenridge station late.”
Summit Stage staff are supportive of the transfer, saying it will likely free up resources to improve drive times, but members of the transit board are more hesitant to give their OK. Willis said board members are unsure whether Breckenridge will be better able to keep the Boreas route running on time.
They are also concerned about cost and the fact that Free Ride buses offer fewer bike racks. Boreas is a popular route with cyclists in the summer.
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