Nighttime bus service may be in GJ’s future

Riding the bus for a dollar is a pretty good deal, but it is a bust for anyone looking for a ride after 7:15 p.m.

“A lot of (bus riders) are saying, ‘I can get to work. You just can’t get me home,’ ” said Todd Hollenbeck, director of the Regional Transportation Planning Office.

Extending bus service into the moonlight hours may be in the works.

Grand Valley Transit operates the local buses from 5:15 a.m. to 7:15 p.m., Monday through Saturday. But at a recent meeting of the Grand Valley Regional Transportation Commission, which decides funding for Grand Valley Transit, everyone agreed the time has come to explore extending bus hours.

“Everybody is kind of proceeding with caution,” Hollenbeck said. “But based on service, now is the time to be extending those hours and making it more accessible to riders.”

Riding the bus is more popular than ever in the Grand Valley.

“Ridership is through the roof. It is a good problem to have,” he said.

Mesa County Commissioner Steve Acquafresca, the county’s representative on the Regional Transportation Commission, said the biggest problem with extending hours is funding.

“A decision would be based on the affordability of doing that,” Acquafresca said.

The Regional Transportation Commission also has representatives from Fruita, Grand Junction and Palisade.

If evening bus service were extended, it would start slowly, Acquafresca said, with perhaps a few routes and for a few hours, until officials can gauge the popularity of the new schedule.

Hollenbeck gave no timeline for when the changes might occur.

Grand Valley Transit also had been attempting to change its bus stop at Mesa Mall, but after a open house on the subject last week, those plans have been terminated.

“We are done as far as looking at that site currently,” Hollenbeck said.

The stop at the mall by J.C. Penney has buses going through the mall parking lot, and it presents other safety concerns for riders, Hollenbeck said. A new search is under way for an alternative site at the mall.


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