Huffpost Denver

FREX's Last Stand? Colorado Springs City Council To Vote On Funding For Bus Service

Posted: Updated:

Update
The Colorado Springs City Council decided on Tuesday to keep the Front Range Express (FREX) commuter bus between Colorado Springs and Denver at least through the remainder of 2010.

The council approved the use of funds from the recent auctioning of nine FREX buses for $1.5 million to cover operating expense through the rest of the year.

The Denver Channel reported:

Officials cautioned, however, that the sale is only a temporary fix and they will still need to find funding for 2011 and beyond.

FREX will maintain its current schedule for the time being and CDOT and Colorado Springs officials are still considering sustainable funding option for the future. .

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In a last-ditch effort to save the Front Range Express (FREX), the commuter bus between Denver and Colorado Springs, the Colorado Springs City Council will decide on Tuesday whether to approve a funding proposal.

The additional funding comes from bids the city received on nine FREX buses before a 10 a.m. deadline on Monday. All proceeds from the bids would fund FREX's operation for the rest of 2010.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette the buses were sold to Pennsylvania's York County Transportation Authority for $1.4 million.

This is the third time the city has put the buses up for sale, but no one bid on them previously.

A press release from the city said:

Colorado Springs City Council will be asked to make a determination February 9th during their formal session whether local proceeds from the sale may be used to operate FREX service for the remainder of 2010. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), who owns 80% of FREX buses, has already approved use of state proceeds to sustain the service for the rest of the year. It will be up to Colorado Springs City Council to determine appropriate use of the remaining 20% local proceeds.

Without City Council's approval, FREX service will be terminated in its entirety after Friday, February 12th.

Due to budget shortfalls in the 2010 City budget, Mountain Metropolitan Transit has cautioned riders to plan for the possible discontinuation of FREX service since late last summer. "We have a responsibility to the public to make every reasonable effort to maintain the service," says Craig Blewitt, Interim Transit Services Division Manager, "however; appropriate use of the proceeds must be determined by City Council." If Council approves using local proceeds for the continued operation of FREX, the service will maintain its current schedule without interruption until further notice, and transit officials will continue to seek funding options for FREX in 2011 and beyond.

According to KRDO, FREX had about 600 riders a day in 2009, and ridership peaked in 2008 at roughly 900 a day due to high gas prices.