Garfield County grants $300,000 to Parachute for transit
March 11, 2021
Parachute Area Transit System ridership increasing month to month
Garfield County has approved a $300,000 grant to support the Parachute Area Transit System (PATS) bus service, which connects commuters from Battlement Mesa and Parachute to Rifle. The county’s funding had been budgeted for 2021 out of the general fund for transportation services, and the Town of Parachute has budgeted more than $86,000 to support the program.
The route operates Monday through Friday, eight times a day, making on 14 stops on a standard loop, providing residents of the Parachute area with a needed transportation option. The service operates from 5:28 a.m. to 9:47 p.m. and includes two express trips during heavy commuting times that make eight stops.
Ridership is increasing, with 183 passengers in December 2020, 274 in January and 369 in February. The service costs $4 to travel from Battlement Mesa to Rifle, where it makes stops at Grand River Hospital, Walmart and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) park and ride. Travel in Battlement Mesa and Parachute costs between $1 to $2. A discounted rate is available for seniors and veterans; additional information is available at ridepats.com.
“The need to our community has really shown itself in our ridership,” said Jessica Paugh, economic development specialist for the town of Parachute. “We run eight routes or loops per day from Battlement Mesa, through Parachute and over to Rifle. Our express routes are for those who are commuting to Rifle to work, or further up valley and connecting with other transportation services. Our ridership is growing exponentially.”
The funding was approved by the Board of County Commissioners unanimously, 3-0.
“I’m very pleased to see the increase in ridership and I think that will continue to increase throughout the year,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “It’s been long overdue to have public transportation to the west end of the county. I’m happy to see this in place.”