I-70 bus expands transportation options
By Tom Huerkamp
Published Thursday, October 29, 2015 9:47 am
An article in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Oct. 22 issue, "Glenwood-to-Denver bus line to add weekend service," has an extremely important caveat included, the possibility of extending the service to Grand Junction. This is an exciting possibility to improve transportation options not only in Mesa County but in neighboring communities, particularly Delta County. I sincerely hope that organizations such as the chambers of commerce in Mesa County, the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, the city and town governments in Mesa County and the Mesa County Commissioners do whatever can be done to make this a reality.
I am urging Delta County Economic Development and chambers in Delta County to get behind this effort as well as government entities here in Delta County. This service offered by the Colorado Department of Transportation (call Bustang) is about a lot more than reducing congestion on I-70. First, given that it heads eastbound early in the morning and westbound early in the evening with limited stops, it is possible to do same day meetings or appointments. Second, it starts and stops at Union Station in Denver where great options for other transportation are immediately available, RTD bus and light rail and scads of taxis, not an airport somewhere near the Kansas or Nebraska borders. It puts passengers in the heart of the metropolitan area where government entities and businesses are close by. It also is in the heart of the area for all four professional athletic teams and conference, convention and concert venues. Third is it appears to be extremely economical, probably just slightly more than the cost of driving one's own vehicle and certainly well below the cost of flying and car rentals.
For us here in Delta County the majority choose driving. If time is of the essence we must go to either Montrose or Grand Junction for flights, with most choosing Grand Junction because more flight options are available and generally at lower (though still outrageous) costs. How great would it be to drive to Grand Junction, climb on the bus for, say, around $40 and get off in the heart of Denver? This is an opportunity for our two communities to collaborate on something that is beneficial to both. How great would it be to at least once stop the "Friday night football" rivalries that sometimes stop us from presenting a unified front for western Colorado? After all, what is good for Mesa County is good for Delta County and vice versus. The same could apply for western Garfield County with a stop, say, in the Rifle or Parachute area.
On a very personal note I would be a very frequent user. As a 75-year-old businessman and community activist with severe arthritis in my feet, the driving trip has become physically challenging. I often decline to make important business and community trips into Denver that this service would make possible. Flying presents its own obstacles above cost and location of the airports. I have sleep apnea and must carry my small bi-pap machine with me. TSA is enough of a hassle, but try it when you are carrying a strange little electronic device in its bag. My last experience some years ago has stopped me from flying.
So come on everyone, let us join hands and make this happen. We are all in this together and maybe we can learn to work together.