|Transportation Providers in SW Colorado: Click to enlarge|
For commuting to work, the percentage of workers in some of the major cities and towns in the region report the following:
- 6-13% carpool
- 3-8% walk to work
- 0-9% say that they use other means (probably mostly by bike)
- 4-14% work at home
- 0-2% currently use public transit
City of Durango
There are a number of bus and trolley routes that reach most of the commercial and residential sections of the city. There is also on-demand transit service available for those unable to use the buses and those looking for a safe and convenient way home late night on the weekends. For more details, contact Durango Transit Dispatch at 970-259-5438.
Archuleta and Montezuma Counties
There is also transit service available to the general public which can pick-up and drop-off passengers where they need to go. (In Archuleta, contact Mountain Express at 264-2250; in Montezuma County, contact MoCo Public Transportation at 970-564-2273.)
Tribal ReservationsRoad Runner Transit provides both fixed route and on–demand service in Ignacio, around the Southern Ute Reservation and between Ignacio and Bayfield, Durango and Aztec, New Mexico (Call 970-563-4545). The Ute Mountain Ute Tribal government also provides several forms of targeted transit service.
OtherMost of the counties provide transit services to the elderly and disabled either directly or with the assistance of community non-profit organizations. There are also a range of private providers of transit services.
While all these transit options are important and helpful to have, it must be acknowledged that there is still a high degree of unmet needs. Two transit studies have estimated that 84-95% of the needs of those requiring transportation assistance in Southwest Colorado go unmet. Many live in communities with limited or no public transit options. Even within areas with transit services, their service areas and schedules do not fully meet the needs of everyone. Many would also like a reliable and affordable alternative means to travel between cities within the region for work, medical services, shopping and other reasons or to get in and out of the region.
To address more of the unmet needs, the region can do several things, including striving to improve program efficiencies and exploring greater coordination. The Southwest Colorado Regional Transit Coordinating Council is an association of local organizations that has been meeting since the fall of 2010 to try to identify ways to improve the number and the accessibility of transit options to citizens in the region. The work of the Council is supported by the Southwest Colorado Council of Governments and CDOT.
Among the items on the Council action plan is a comprehensive guide to existing regional transit options which will be published at the Council of Governments website in the near future (you can also get information about upcoming Transit Council meetings or read minutes of past meetings there).
One exciting recent initiative is an effort to restore bus service between Durango and Grand Junction, replacing the Greyhound bus service which was discontinued in the fall of 2011. The staff at Road Runner Transit has put in a grant proposal with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) that, if funded, would re-start this service in spring 2013. A decision on the grant request is expected later this summer or fall. It is proposed that this service would run one round-trip daily from Durango to Cortez then north thru Montrose and on to Grand Junction 7 days a week. At Grand Junction riders would be able to connect with Greyhound Service to Denver, Salt Lake City and beyond.
Another current opportunity, if you live and work in Durango, is to receive custom-tailored travel training about available transit options for yourself and your co-workers or employees or your community group at your site thru a new program organized by Durango Transit. You can contact Deven Meininger at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-375-4901 to explore the possibility of such a presentation being made to your group.
Communications have also begun with veterans support organizations to try to improve transit options for both veterans and the general community. One idea being researched is the possibility of established some form of coordinated point of contact for receiving information about available transit services. Several other communities in Colorado are establishing what is called a “one call / one click center” with state and federal funding. The Council is in touch with those community organizations to learn what they are doing and we may have an opportunity to pursue similar grant funding of such a communications center in the future if there is sufficient support among the region’s transit providers and local governments.
You can reach out to your local government and transit providers for more transit information and, if you desire, to make your voice heard in favor of improved transit services options for yourself, your family and your community. Strong public input about and support for targeted transit solutions could help improve personal mobility, which would improve the quality of life of many and in turn help the economy.
John Ehmann is the Special Projects Coordinator with the Southwest Colorado Council of Governments. If you would like to share any of your transit concerns and ideas or get more information about current transit options, please call John Ehmann at 970-247-9621 or send an email.