107 Officials: Bustang Is a Success. Now Give Us More Service

Danny Katz of CoPRIG presents a giant card celebrating the success of Bustang to state transportation commissioners Thursday. Photo: Andy Bosselman
Danny Katz of CoPRIG presents a giant card celebrating the success of Bustang to state transportation commissioners Thursday. Photo: Andy Bosselman

Bustang officials celebrated a sharp rise in ridership that bucks a national trend — and the service’s fourth anniversary achievement was marked with a giant birthday card signed by officials from 107 Colorado cities and towns whose constituents are taking advantage of the expanding service.

“If you look back to the first year of 100,000 riders, you’re up to 238,000 riders,” said Danny Katz, director of CoPRIG, who presented the card to state transportation commissioners at their monthly meeting at the Colorado Department of Transportation headquarters on Thursday morning. “That’s a 133 percent increase.” 

Bill Thiebaut, chairman of the state Transportation Commission and Shoshana Lew, CDOT executive director, accept a birthday card from Danny Katz of CoPRIG. Photo: Andy Bosselman
Bill Thiebaut, chairman of the state Transportation Commission and Shoshana Lew, CDOT executive director, accept a birthday card from Danny Katz of CoPRIG. Photo: Andy Bosselman

Bustang started as a regional express bus service between major cities in Colorado in July of 2015. This year, it created Bustang Outrider service to reach some of the state’s rural areas. The 107 signatories to the card included 30 mayors and other elected officials from the cities and towns served by Bustang. They urged the commissioners to continue expanding the service because more frequent buses and an increase in the number of destinations served has been a key to its surging ridership. 

“This is a service that people wanted. The buses are packed. And you’ve been expanding it every single year,” said Katz. “Keep your foot on the gas and keep expanding that service.” 

Katz also told the commissioners that Bustang is helping to reduce car dependency and traffic, especially along the congested Interstate 70 and Interstate 25 corridors. 

“It’s an important part of giving people the freedom to be able to travel without necessarily driving a car around the state,” he said. “It’s an important part of quality of life here in Colorado.” 

Bustang Year-Over-Year Ridership

The growing bustang ridership is a counterpoint to a national trend of declining bus ridership, including at the Regional Transportation District where the number of bus rides declined 6.8 percent between 2014 and 2018. Light rail ridership dropped 13.7 percent just this year, according to RTD.  

Bustang recently filled all of its bus driver positions, but its expansion was scaled back last winter due to a shortage of operators


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