January 22, 2020
Grant paves the way for new bus service in western Garfield County
Route will operate between Parachute/Battlement Mesa and RifleGarfield County has approved a $278,360 grant to the Town of Parachute to help bring a new transit bus service connecting Parachute/Battlement Mesa and Rifle. This service, which is to be operated by Parachute, connects commuters with shopping, health care, Colorado Mountain College (CMC) and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) bus system heading west toward the Roaring Fork Valley. The route is projected to begin early this summer.
Under the proposal, round-trip service will operate five days a week, Monday through Friday. Bus stop locations have not yet been finalized, but the Willow Park Apartments and the site of the old Kum and Go in Battlement Mesa; the park & ride and Cottonwood View Apartments in Parachute; and Walmart, CMC, Grand River Hospital, the Garfield County Administration buildings and the park & ride in Rifle are all potential stops. An express bus will operate early in the morning and later in the evening between the Parachute and Rifle park & rides, as well.
“We want to start early enough so that commuters can get to connections with the Hogback route at the Rifle park & ride in the morning and another two express routes in the afternoon,” said Stuart McArthur, Parachute town manager. “Right now, the latest CMC classes end around 9 p.m., so the route would run until maybe 15 minutes after those classes.”
The City of Rifle is donating senior services buses to the town of Parachute for use along the route. RFTA has supported the project by helping Parachute with fee structure planning, route planning and agreed to assist with dispatch in the evenings. CMC has also expressed interest in partnering in the endeavor. The Town of Parachute is supporting the project with $100,000.
The fare structure and schedule haven’t yet been finalized. The grant was approved unanimously, 3-0.
“It’s good to see parties working together,” said Commissioner Mike Samson. “I think we can draw in some other partners to make this a reality, because it’s definitely a need.”