Students encountering overly-crowded buses in the city may have less to complain about as Transfort services continue to expand.
Plans to increase transportation efforts around the Colorado State University campus and in the City of Fort Collins are in the works as student ridership increases.
Alternative Transportation Manager Aaron Fodge said he is not discouraged by student complaints of over-crowded buses. He said he is excited about what this increase in riders means for CSU’s Transfort bus system.
“What we know today is that more people are riding transit,” Fodge said. “More people are riding, which is great because they get a trip to work, they are saving money and they don’t have to pay for parking on campus.”
Transfort annual ridership increased 49 percent from 2000 to 2013 — going from just under 500,000 annual student riders in 2000 to just under 1 million in 2013.
Timothy Wilder, service development manager for Transfort, said he is hopeful that Transfort will continue prospering. Wilder said there are resources that help students when the bus is too full.
“Our dispatch office and road supervisors monitor the passenger loads on a daily basis, and at times will allocate additional service to meet the demand,” Wilder said. “We also operate regularly scheduled trailer buses on many routes, and have rovers for CSU and MAX routes to accommodate heavy passenger loads.”
As the city continues to combat crowded buses, the West Elizabeth Street corridor, where many students live, has been identified as an area with high-frequency transit.
“We have seen that if the city provides the right type of service in an area, like MAX or the CSU routes, there will be a positive response in terms of ridership,” Wilder said. “In fact, we are in the middle of a transit planning effort for West Elizabeth that will address heavy passenger loads, and there will be a proposal to improve service.”
With the increasing population of Fort Collins and CSU, transit ridership will most likely continue to rise.
Transfort Transit Planner Emma Belmont oversees all future service plans in improving the bus system, and she said she is confident about the future.
“In recent years, Transfort has made several changes to improve service, not only in the CSU neighborhoods, but also throughout the entire community,” Belmont said. “I would expect transit ridership to continue to grow.”
Collegian Reporter Allec Brust can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Brustyyy.