State to roll out GJ-to-Durango bus service

A project that will restore daily bus service between Grand Junction and Durango next year got the green light this week from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

A nonprofit group affiliated with the Ute Indian tribe won a $200,000 grant, which will fund the operation of a daily bus route between the two cities, with stops in Cortez, Dolores, Telluride, Ridgway, Montrose and Delta along the way.

The service is expected to begin May 1, and buses will make one round trip every day, seven days a week. Buses will leave Durango about 6 a.m., and arrive in Grand Junction by noon. The bus will then depart Grand Junction around 1:15 p.m. and arrive back in Durango by about 7:15 p.m.

According to Peter Tregillus, programs developer with the Southern Ute Community Action Programs group in Ignacio, one-way tickets aboard the 40-passenger coach bus will cost around $35. Prorated prices will be available if riders aren’t taking the entire route.

Tickets will be for sale on the bus, and it will be possible to buy with a credit card, Tregillus said. There will be ticket agents all along the route as well.

Part of the initial grant money will go to equipping buses with bathrooms, wheelchair lifts and storage capacity for luggage and freight. The buses, which CDOT will purchase from RTD in Denver, will be leased for a small fee to the SUCAP group.

The SUCAP organization currently operates a small-scale transit service in the Durango area under the Road Runner Transit moniker, and the new route will operate with the Road Runner name as well.

The daily bus likely will stop at both the Greyhound and Amtrak stations while in Grand Junction “because the major point of this is to provide southwest Colorado counties with a connection to national routes that Greyhound and Amtrak provide,” Tregillus said.

He said the bus likely will pull through the Grand Valley Transit center if passengers want to connect there, and also may make a stop at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center as well.

The CDOT grant runs through 2013, and Tregillus said the group would apply again for new grant funds to operate beyond next year.

Greyhound discontinued its route between Salt Lake City and Albuquerque, N.M. in September 2011, leaving folks along the way with no public transportation option among western Colorado cities formerly served by the route.



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