At Monday’s Transit Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting. Transit Manager, Michael Koch, started off by providing the latest updates and developments on the transit system.
- Hanover has been testing the new electronic messaging displays on the buses. The new feature shows riders the bus’ next stop/destination.
- The bus maintenance schedule has been a lot more improved. “Our fleet is going to be in the best shape,” said Koch. “We are making progress.”
- There was a 20% increase in ridership in July. The month of June saw about a 2% increase.
- The new Transit Center at Cooper Creek Square could open by October 2019. The design features two lanes, and the second would serve as an interregional bus lane. Koch told the committee that Greyhound has already expressed interest in using the lane.
- Advocating for expanded bus service on US 40, Koch has reached out to Bustang Manager, Mike Timlin, in an effort to bring him up for a visit. Bustang routes currently serve the front range, with connections to southern and western towns such as Alamosa, Durango and Gunnison.
- The transit system has placed an order for a new full size bus to be delivered in spring 2020, and a smaller, cutaway-design bus will be delivered by the end of the year.
- Koch has also been busy submitting applications for grant monies, including a $12 million to the Federal Transit Administration for the new Maintenance Facility to be located off of CR 5. The application proposes a 60/40 split of funding between the FTA and the transit system.
- Mike Fudge, of First Transit, told the committee that First Student is installing surveillance systems on all of the buses, and about half have been installed already. Citing a decrease in incidents by 33%, the cameras will capture 8 seconds before and after a sudden stop or other incidents such as speeding, to allow for driver coaching opportunity and accident investigation. Drivers also have the opportunity to record unruly rider behavior, as necessary.
- The Lift’s website is getting a revamp and promises better functionality when completed this fall.
Winter 2019/2020 Service Options
Transit Manager Koch presented the committee with an overview of service alternatives for the upcoming winter season.
Routes that will see minimal schedule changes and no changes in service frequency and routing are the Green (Winter Park Resort); Orange (King’s Crossing); Blue (High Country Haus); Brown (Vasquez); and Yellow (Beaver Village) lines.
Alternatives for proposed changes to the Black (Fraser); Purple (Meadowridge); Red (Rendezvous) lines, along with an additional new line servicing Grand Park and Old Town Fraser were presented to the committee for consideration. The changes were the result of requests received and discussions with the Meadowridge and surrounding Homeowners Associations (HOA).
The Black line would have different routing and pushes the route back on to US 40 between Fraser and Winter Park. The new routing would see the Black Line stopping at every stop through Downtown Winter Park and its first stop in Fraser would be at the CR804/Safeway stop. The routing would then have the bus travel up Meadowridge Hill and take a left onto Cranmer. There are no proposed stops in Meadowridge on the Black Line, so the bus would proceed to take a left onto the top of Wapiti Drive. The Black Line would then service the stops at Wapiti & Ermine, Fox Run, Lower Wapiti, and Twin Rivers. Changes to the Purple Line would eliminate service to downtown Fraser, so the Black Line would service the Eastom Road Southbound stop in front of Fraser Ace Hardware. The bus would then turn right onto Fraser Ave to access the Amtrak stop on Railroad Street. The bus would turn left onto Eisenhower after the Amtrak stop and head south on US 40, servicing the Goranson Station, CR72 & Elk Creek, and Fraser
Valley Center stops before heading back to Winter Park Resort, again, servicing all the stops through downtown Winter Park. The Black Line is proposed to operate on a 30-minute schedule from the beginning of the winter season through the end of April.
After speaking with the HOAs at the various developments located at the top of Meadowridge Hill, Transit Manager Koch presented the Purple Line revisions as the ‘Meadowridge Express’. In an effort to get riders to the resort a little quicker, the new routing is proposed to solely serve the Meadowridge and Winter Park Ranch areas. It is proposed that the line would operate express service between those areas and Winter Park Resort. The route will provide riders in Meadowridge and Winter Park Ranch with a direct ride to Winter Park Resort. The only
exceptions would be a stop at CR804/Safeway and the Fraser Valley Center in Fraser and the Main & Vasquez/Cooper Creek Transit Center in Winter Park. Service for the Purple Line is proposed at 60-minute intervals on weekdays and 30-minute intervals on Weekends &
Holidays, ending daily at 6 pm. The Cirque circulator bus would be eliminated and requests for service would be through the Night Lift service.
Fraser requested additional on the Red Line service in Rendezvous be explored and after working with the Town’s contractor it was decided that an additional loop in Rendezvous would be possible. This new route would see the bus turning right at the top of the Idlewild Hill where the road meets Rendezvous Road. The bus would continue up Rendezvous Road and make a right onto the north entrance of Friendship Drive. The bus would circle around Friendship Drive making two proposed stops before meeting back with Rendezvous Road where it would turn left and travel down Rendezvous making stops at the stops that currently exist in the neighborhood. The bus would then continue on its current routing through Downtown Winter Park. Because the added stops resulted in travel time of about 37 minutes, one-hour service would be offered on weekdays and half-hour service would be operated during Weekends & Holidays.
Fraser had requested service to Old Town Fraser be explored, and, after planning efforts and efficiency changes to other lines were considered, it was determined the new route could be viable. The new line would offer express service through downtown Winter Park (a stop at Main & Vasquez, and at the new Cooper Creek Transit Center would be the only stops in Downtown Winter Park) direct to the Grand Park Community Recreation Center stop. The bus would then continue on to Old Victory Road and service the existing Mountain Willow stop, as well as the stops located at Old Victory, Meadow Trail, Elk Ranch Road, and Fraser Valley Center. The bus would cross Zerex and provide service to the Safeway Main stop, then return to Zerex by way of Holiday Inn Express Stop. The route would continue on Zerex where it would make a left onto Eisenhower and have a stop near the corner of Eisenhower and Railroad Street. The bus would continue forward and make a stop near the front of the Old Church, near the corner of Eisenhower and Norgren. The bus would then continue forward on Eisenhower and make the natural left turn onto Carriage Way where it would meet up with CR 73 and turn right. The bus would continue up CR 73 to Fraser Valley Parkway and turn left, making its next stop close to the intersection of CR 72 and 73. The bus would turn right onto Elk Ranch Road and continue to a stop in Elk Ranch Cabins development and proceed to the intersection of Elk Ranch Road and Old Victory Road, where it would provide bi-directional service through the rest of Grand Park, including the Mountain Willow stop. After the bus departs from the Grand Park Community Recreation Center stop, the service would express to Winter Park Resort (with the exception of the Cooper Creek Transit Center).
Fraser resident, Sheila Romans, told the committee, “I think it’s great separating the Purple line from the Black line.” She added, “The transfer at Safeway was terrible.”
Transit manager Koch presented budget estimates to the committee with and without the proposed changes.
2020 Budget costs with no changes:
- Fraser: $707,090.34
- Winter Park: $1,372,125.51
- Grand County: $252,821.83
- Granby: $68,222.29
2020 Budget costs with proposed changes:
- Fraser: $707,196.72
- Winter Park: $1,381,243.58
- Grand County: $352,142.01
- Granby: $67,183.77
The figures above are estimates and do not reflect grant dollars (estimated at $186,945 for operating costs in 2020), management fee credits and HOA contributions.
Grand County contributes $50,000 to transit system operations each year. After that amount, along with HOA contributions (estimated at $122,697) are applied toward Grand County’s costs, the Town of Winter Park pays the balance of the county’s share.
Winter Park TAC representative, Charles Banks, pointed out that the two additional stops in Rendezvous on the Red Line would result in Winter Park riders spending more time riding the bus. He also expressed concern with the added liability to the Town for county costs, if the proposed changes are made.
Transit Manager Koch told the committee that what had been presented was not necessarily what they would end up finalizing. He told them he would pursue conversations with the town managers and mayors of Fraser and Winter Park to further refine the routes.
Koch will provide an update to the committee at the next meeting and hopes to have a decision on their recommendations by month-end, or early September at the latest. This would allow municipalities time to update their 2020 budgets, give adequate time for new maps to be created and for website updates.