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CDOT will start expanding Bustang services in August

Lawmakers allocated $30 million to the department with the goal of reducing ground level ozone, increasing ridership and reducing vehicle miles traveled.

COLORADO, USA — CDOT is working on expanding its bus services throughout the state. This spring, lawmakers allocated $30 million to the cause.

By August, CDOT said it plans to add two trips on each of its Bustang lines that go from Denver to Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Fort Collins.

The hope is that it'll help reduce ground ozone levels. 

With high gas prices, hot temperatures and smog polluting the air, Idaho Springs Mayor Chuck Harmon is looking forward to the expansion.

"We currently have, often, 40,000 cars cruising through our backyard," Harmon said. "The timing couldn't be better." 

Harmon said he hopes more frequent bus service will help them breathe easier and reduce the number of cars on Interstate 70.

"If it's inexpensive and it's convenient, you can get people out of their cars, particularly with high gas prices," he said. "You don't see the air pollution and what it's doing to our bodies on a daily basis. It's cumulative and we may find out 10 or even 20 years from now that's really affected our children."

Right now, Bustang only takes four trips to Idaho Springs each day. 

"This will be a phased approach for expanding the services along the I-25 and I-70 corridors," said Amber Blake, director of the Division of Transit and Rail for CDOT. "We will then be ordering additional fleet and rolling out a significant increase next summer. We'll continue to assess how ridership is happening."

She said by 2024 they hope to increase their Bustang service even more, to 15 trips per day.

"It creates a system where you can rely upon the transit bus for your mode of transportation, and it allows you flexibility if a meeting runs long or something happens," Blake said.

Last month, CDOT launched Pegasus, an express shuttle service that goes between Denver and Avon, hourly from sunrise to sunset.

Blake said they also are looking to expand their Outrider service, which connects more rural areas to the main Bustang lines.

"We are continuing to look at expanded services across the state and really focusing on connecting to the local system so that you truly have an option to get from point A to point B through transit," she said.

RELATED: Meet 'Pegasus': CDOT unveils new way to get to the mountains

Harmon hopes the expanded transit services will make traffic -- and their lives  -- better. 

"If we take steps today to clean it up, maybe to get folks to embrace public transportation, cities like ours will be in a much better place," he said.

CDOT is also working with the City of Idaho Springs to create a transportation mobility hub in the town. It will connect local and statewide transit services, as well as providing electric car chargers and 224 additional parking spaces. They hope to have it open in the next couple of years.

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