Tuesday, March 17, 2009


 A new bus service between Gunnison and Denver is now available thanks to a partnership between the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and eight local agencies and transit partners.  The bus service, called the Gunnison-Denver Express (GDX) or the "Mountaineer Route," transports passengers and even packages between Gunnison and Denver via US 50 and US 285, covering a total distance of 215 miles one way.  The bus service also provides a connection to Denver Union Station, the Denver Greyhound Station, and Denver International Airport (DIA). 
"The new bus service is a great addition to Colorado's transit system and will provide another option for people to travel between Denver and the western slope," said state Transportation Commissioner Steve Parker.  "While a bus may be a different method of travel for most people, we strongly encourage folks to try out the bus service so they experience the many benefits it provides.  This is a pilot project and for this service to be a success and continue next year, we must have strong ridership and support from Colorado communities."
Passengers using the new bus service will be transported in a 15-passenger van, operated by Chaffee Shuttle, that runs between Gunnison and Poncha Springs and a motor coach, operated by Black Hills Stage Lines, Inc., that runs between Poncha Springs and the Denver Greyhound Station.  The one-way fare to travel all 215 miles is $32.25. There are a total of eight stops served on the route between Gunnison and the Denver Bus Center for a total of five hours travel time:
o        Gunnison
o        Poncha Springs (change buses in Poncha Springs until May 1st when the Salida station opens)
o        Buena Vista
o        Fairplay
o        Jefferson
o        Grant
o        Pine Junction
o        Cold Spring Park and Ride
o        Denver Union Station
o        Denver Bus Center (Greyhound)
            The bus service will provide five roundtrips per week from Gunnison to Denver with round trip service Thursday through Sunday.  In addition, there is only inbound service to Denver on Mondays,  no service on Tuesdays, and only outbound service to Gunnison on Wednesdays.
            Passengers using the bus service also benefit from local transit connections provided along this route including service by the Regional Transportation District (RTD) in the Denver-metro area, the Gunnison Valley Regional Transportation Authority in Gunnison, and the Chaffee Shuttle in Salida, Poncha Springs, and Buena Vista. 
o        RTD: Bus service to DIA departs the Denver Greyhound Station at 35 minutes after the hour.  There are also many RTD connections at Denver Union Station including light rail lines. For more information call 303-299-6000 or visit www.rtd-denver.com.
o        Gunnison Valley Regional Transportation Authority (RTA):  Provides bus service between Gunnison and Mt. Crested Butte.  The arriving bus from Denver is scheduled to arrive in Gunnison at 6:45 p.m. and the service to Crested Butte departs from the same stop at 7:15 p.m.  For more information visit www.gunnisonvalleyrta.org.
o        Chaffee Shuttle:  Call the Chaffee Shuttle in advance for local transit connections to and from the Poncha Springs, Salida and Buena Vista Stations- 719-530-8980.
            A ticket-honoring arrangement between RTD and Black Hills Stage Lines, Inc. allows passengers on the Gunnison Route to use RTD's SkyRide service to DIA for free and RTD pass holders can use Black Hills Stage Lines for trips between Downtown Denver and the Pine Junction Park and Ride.  Only same-day tickets can be used for the free transfer connection between the Greyhound Station and DIA or from DIA to Downtown Denver.
"The additional connections that passengers can make by using the Gunnison to Denver bus route will be extraordinary as it will greatly improve local as well as regional connectivity," added Parker.  "It is a great accomplishment for all involved to see a bus route provide so many options for travelers moving through and around Colorado and it demonstrates how CDOT and local governments and partners can work together to develop new alternative transportation methods."
            Tickets for the Gunnison to Denver bus route, can be purchased through the Black Hills Stage Lines (BHL) website at www.blackhillsstagelines.com/ or by purchasing tickets directly from the ticket agent at each station.  Tickets are not sold over the phone or from the driver of the bus. 
            The bus service is being funded by CDOT using Federal Transit Administration Section 5311 (f) funds as well as eight other agencies including Chaffee County, Park County, City of Salida, City of Buena Vista, City of Poncha Springs, Western State College, Western State College Foundation and Gunnison Valley RTA.  The eight agencies combined committed $45,500 in funds and CDOT will provide approximately $260,000.  CDOT funding contribution can change based on the fare revenue collected.