Southern Ute Community Action Programs plans to resume the Durango-Grand Junction ground transportation on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.
Motorcoach service will be seven days per week, 365 days per year, under the name Road Runner Stage Lines. The route will leave Durango at 7 a.m. and travel via Durango, Mancos, Cortez, Dolores, Rico, Telluride, Placerville, Ridgway, Montrose and Delta, arriving in Grand Junction at 12:38 p.m. The return trip will leave Grand Junction at 1:45 p.m., arriving in Durango at 7:47 p.m.
The coach is equipped with a wheelchair lift, and riders with disabilities are encouraged to communicate their needs to drivers.
This restores intercity bus service discontinued by Greyhound in 2011. Greyhound continues to operate bus service connecting Grand Junction with Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and the rest of the national Greyhound system. (The Durango-Grand Junction was part of a Salt Lake City-Albuquerque route that was canceled.)
Shortly after the Greyhound announcement, SUCAP contacted CDOT to explore ways to restore the Colorado portion of the route. With the approval of the SUCAP board of directors, SUCAP submitted an application to CDOT in June, 2012 and received a notice of grant award in September.
However, complications in funding to purchase the two vehicles required to operate the service delayed the May 2013 startup until July 15, 2014.
Sidny Zink, transportation commissioner for CDOT Region 5 said, “This is such a great example of parties coming together to meet a need, where one party could not do it alone. It took time and tenacity to make it happen, but it did thanks to the SUCAP team.”
Clayton Richter, director of SUCAP’s Road Runner Transportation program division, reported, “We have been getting calls for over a year asking when this service will hit the road. We are very happy to be starting service July 15th with experienced drivers. We would like to thank the city of Durango for entering into a lease with SUCAP so that riders can access the service at the Durango Transit Center.”
Peter Tregillus, SUCAP program developer said, “SUCAP is very pleased with the partnership with CDOT and Greyhound, resulting in an affordable transportation alternative for parts of rural Colorado. Not everyone can afford to fly in today’s economy, and sometimes it doesn’t make sense to fly.”
Funding to operate the route come from fares, with 12-month operational deficits up to $245,000 covered with Federal Transit Administration funds managed by the CDOT Division of Transit and Rail. SUCAP does not anticipate an operational deficit that high since it will be operating only part of the year in 2014. Funding to purchase the two coaches comes from FTA funds and State of Colorado FASTER funds.
To start, riders may purchase tickets from the driver in cash (exact amount, no change will be carried by the driver), or with a credit or debit card. In a few weeks, travelers in the Durango-Grand Junction route segment will be able to purchase tickets online at www.roadrunnerstagelines.com but it is still under construction.
Right now, however, basic information on fares and schedules may be found at www.sucap.org.
Passengers traveling within the Greyhound system will be able to purchase tickets to Denver or any other Greyhound destination online at www.greyhound.com starting July 15th. Passengers traveling to southwest Colorado destinations served by Road Runner Stage Lines from departure points across the country may also purchase tickets online at www.greyhound.com.
The route is a collaborative partnership between SUCAP, CDOT and Greyhound. The service will be “inter-lined” with the Greyhound system. That means that riders anywhere in the Greyhound system will be able to purchase tickets online at www.greyhound.com. Southwest Colorado destinations are set to go “live” July 15, but riders are cautioned to be prepared to pay the driver while the service gets experienced with ticket purchase systems.
Road Runner Stage Lines is operated by the Road Runner Transportation program division of Southern Ute Community Action Programs, Inc. SUCAP was established in 1966 by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and its nontribal neighbors in Ignacio to meet community needs. SUCAP is not a part of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, but serves as its delegate agency in operating programs for the tribe.