Town’s Free Shuttles Saw Increase In Riders This Year
More than 56,900 people rode the Town of Estes Park’s Free Shuttles this summer, an 89 percent increase over 2010. This year marked the sixth year of service, with shuttles operating June 25 through September 11. Four shuttles transported passengers to more than 40 stops on four routes throughout downtown and the Estes Valley.
Enhancements to the shuttles this year included extended service hours, 11 additional service days, and the new Silver route between Fairgrounds Park-n-Ride and the Estes Park Visitor Center. Betty Kilsdonk, Director of the Town’s Community Services Department, manages the program. She commented, “Ridership data shows us that both visitors and residents are using the new Park-n-Ride at the Fairgrounds to beat the downtown traffic during our busy summer season.” More than 12,000 people used the Park-n-Ride lot and rode Silver shuttle.
The Town prints and distributes shuttle maps and promotes the shuttles through the Town’s website and local media. Spanish-language materials were distributed to encourage Estes Park’s Spanish-speaking residents to use the shuttles.
“We are grateful for the community and intergovernmental partnerships that made the shuttles a success,” Kilsdonk noted. Efforts to promote the shuttles and reduce traffic congestion have been extensive.
The Estes Area Lodging Association (EALA) manages a “Ride the Bus” campaign to encourage shuttle use by visitors. The Estes Park Local Marketing District designed posters, which were printed and distributed by EALA, and promoted the shuttles to local stakeholder businesses and potential visitors. Six Estes Park Middle School “Shuttle Bugs” proposed using the school district parking lot as a remote shuttle bus parking and pickup location. The lot is used for overflow parking during peak visitation periods when the Fairgrounds Park-n-Ride is at capacity.
The Town, the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration and the Colorado Department of Transportation implemented an Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) pilot program to provide visitors with real-time information road conditions, delays, transit arrival times, and other aspects of travel to and within National Parks. The ITS program included highway message signs and radio along U.S. 36 to make it more convenient and safer while reducing adverse impacts on natural resources. In addition, a survey evaluated riders’ experiences on the shuttles, the effectiveness of the signs in influencing shuttle use, and why others chose not to use the shuttles.
The Rotary Club of Estes Park Foundation funded the Estes Park Museum’s pilot program History on Call. It includes recorded messages on local history at five shuttle stops accessible to the public by personal cell phone.
The Town’s shuttle program was initiated after the Town commissioned a comprehensive parking study in 2005, which recommended a shuttle system to assist with consistently high seasonal traffic and limited land mass for expanding parking areas. To receive Town news in your email inbox, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.