Summit Stage Board looks to cut travel times |

Summit Stage Board looks to cut travel times

Caddie Nath
summit daily news

The Summit Stage Transit Board is grappling with possible options to reduce ride times between major stations, which have increased in recent years as new stops are added.

Board members have become aware in recent months of the transit system’s competing needs for new stops in and around Frisco and a faster trip between Frisco and Breckenridge. Travel time between Silverthorne and Keystone has also become over-long in recent years.

“The drive time has increased to the point where it’s becoming difficult to maintain an acceptable ride time,” transit board member Kent Willis said at a meeting this week. “People are on the bus too long.”

Discussions among board members and the towns have been ongoing for over six months on how to address the travel time problems and need for new stops, but Willis said it will likely be 2012 before major solutions are implemented.

One proposed solution is a new circulator bus that would stop at the Summit Medical Center, the County Commons, the Frisco Adventure Park, on Frisco’s Main Street and on North Summit Boulevard, thus freeing up the bus between the Frisco station and the Breckenridge station to make a faster trip.

“There could be more stops in and around Frisco,” County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “Specifically the hospital would benefit from more stops.”

A circulator bus that would handle Dillon, Dillon Valley, the Summit Ridge shopping center and parts of Silverthorne coming out of the Silverthorne Transfer Center has also been proposed to help shorten the ride between Silverthorne and Keystone.

But plans for long-term solutions are still in the very early stages.

“We haven’t made any decisions, we haven’t made any changes,” Willis said.

The board has not laid out funding plans for the possible changes yet either, according to Willis, who said they will start by trying to develop the best solutions first and determine how to make the selected alternative financially feasible later.

The Summit Stage is funded by a portion of sales taxes from each of the communities in the county. Willis said the plans for possible solutions are not far enough along for individual towns to have considered whether they would contribute additional dollars to the project, although Frisco and Breckenridge could be getting close to that point.

In the meantime, temporary and less-expensive solutions might be implemented to alleviate the travel time problem. Willis said alternating an express route from Frisco to Breckenridge with a local route that makes all the needed stops in and around Frisco is one potential short-term solution. The buses would alternate pick ups every 15 minutes so that each route ran twice an hour.

Willis said he hopes to have a recommendation for a long-term solution to the Summit Board of County Commissioners by the end of 2011. The changes would be implemented in 2012 at the earliest.

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