City Council will vote Nov. 15 on whether a Sunday bus service will be included in the 2017-2018 Fort Collins city budget.
Currently, Fort Collins buses do not run 365 days a year. Transfort, which serves the Campus West area, runs Monday through Saturday, weather permitting.
MAX is a bus service that runs parallel to College Avenue off of Mason Street. From 5 a.m. until midnight it runs Monday through Saturday.
The cost for the Sunday bus service would be $1.4 million, which would include Sunday times for both Transfort and MAX, according to the Transfort website. However, this would limit the times the buses would run on the other days of the week.
The budget for transportation services in 2017 is set to be $74.1 million, according to the Fort Collins government website.
During the past city council meetings, local organizations and community members have expressed their desire for Sunday bus service.
Hanna Johnson, Director of Environmental Affairs Associated Students of CSU, said that Sunday bus services would help everyone in Fort Collins.
“Enabling more accessibility to transit further mobilizes our citizens to participate in the local economy and also lets tourists access our Downtown businesses,” Johnson wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Having full week bus service also helps the city encourage a culture of more sustainable and community-based transportation.”
Johnson said that she talked to many students about this in a letter to Council member Gerry Horak.
“Many students have come to me saying that the lack of Sunday services is a real problem for them,” Johnson wrote. “Many [Fort Collins citizens] can’t get to the university, their jobs, or religious services due to the lack of Transfort services on Sundays.”
Johnson has post cards in the ASCSU office that students can send to city council representative that show support for Sunday bus service.
Several community members have been supportive of the service as well.
Members of Sunday Service Now!, a coalition of 13 local organizations advocating for the Fort Collins Sunday bus service, led a demonstration last Tuesday before the council meeting. Members of the coalition stood outside the building with signs. They entered the meeting, wearing pins that said “Sunday Service Now!” and advocated for this service to be included in the 2017-2018 budget.
Members of “Sunday Service Now! Coalition” have been attending council meetings since September.
Cheryl Distaso, coordinator of the Fort Collins Community Action Network, wrote a letter to the Coloradoan asking the public to get on board with advocating for Sunday bus service. In the letter, Distaso discussed the benefits Sunday bus service would have on the community.
“There are quantitative aspects of 67.11 [Sunday service bussing] that would benefit our community,” Distaso wrote. “For instance, the annual ridership is estimated to be 173,722 people, which has the potential of reducing greenhouse gas carbon dioxide emissions by 50,655 pounds per year. Increased bus travel will also lighten the burden on our roads, reducing the cost of road repair.”
She also wrote that the bus service would promote an all-encompassing community.
“Sunday bus service will also make us a more inclusive community, providing basic bus service for seniors, people with disabilities, and people who are transit dependent,” Distaso wrote.
Michael Devereaux, president of the local pro-transit disability advocacy organization called Barrier Busters/ Public Action Transit Group, encouraged citizens to urge the city council members to fully fund the Sunday bus service in a letter to the Coloradoan.
“[Members of the BB/PATG] feel that Sunday Transfort service is critical for Fort Collins’ social, economic, and environmental sustainability,” Devereaux wrote. “People with disabilities, people who are elderly, and people who are transit dependent are trapped without transportation on Sundays.”
He also wrote that the Sunday bus service would promote an inclusive community.
“When Transfort doesn’t operate, many residents of Fort Collins are separated from their community,” Devereaux wrote.
Julie Ellis, the Fort Collins City Clerk, said that the first reading of the proposal for the service is on Nov. 1, 2016 and the second reading is Nov. 15, 2016.
City Council will vote for the final approval on Nov. 15.
Collegian reporter Rachel Sauer can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @rachbethsauer.