Bustang bus headed northbound on I-25 approaching Larkspur, Colorado.
|Parent||Colorado Department of Transportation|
|Commenced operation||July 13, 2015|
|Service type||intercity transportation|
|Destinations||Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Durango, Gunnison, Alamosa, Pueblo, Lamar, and others.|
|Daily ridership||17,000 monthly average|
|Operator||Ace Express Coaches (North, South, West)|
SRDA (Outrider Lamar-Pueblo, Outrider Alamosa-Pueblo)
Southern Colorado Community Action Agency (Outrider Durango-Grand Junction)
Alpine Express (Outrider Gunnison-Denver)
Bustang is an intercity bus service in the U.S. state of Colorado. Service began in 2015 and originally traveled between Denver and Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Glenwood Springs. Service has since been expanded to connect Grand Junction, Durango, Gunnison, Alamosa, Pueblo, and Lamar among others. It is Colorado's first state-run bus service.
Bustang service began on July 13, 2015. Service was originally provided along three lines: the West Line from Denver to Glenwood Springs along I-70, the North Line from Denver to Fort Collins along I-25, and the South Line from Denver to Colorado Springs also along I-70. The Colorado Department of Transportation estimated that there would be 87,376 passengers during the Bustang's first year of operation, but actually ridership surpassed 100,000. At first the buses ran only on weekdays, but weekend service was quickly added along the West Line to accommodate skiers and along the North Line through the "RamsRoute" program. RamsRoute was intended for students and only ran one round-trip bus per weekend. Regular weekend service to both Fort Collins and Colorado Springs was added in 2017. First year revenue totaled over $1,000,000, which was enough to cover 38% of Bustang's costs.
In 2017, communities across Colorado began to lobby for expanded Bustang service. This came after the second year ridership for the Bustang reached 156,000. In early 2018, service was added between Larmar and Pueblo along US 50. The new program was dubbed "Outrider" and focuses on rural Colorado. The Outrider program was expanded in May by adding a line between Pueblo and Alamosa. Later that summer the West Line was extended to Grand Junction, with hopes that the route would hit 15,000 annual passengers. Two additional Outrider services began roughly at the same time. The first was between Durango and Grand Junction, and the second was between Denver and Gunnison. In December of 2018, an additional route between Colorado Springs and the Denver Tech Center was started. Total ridership from July 2017 to June 2018 reached 194,064.
In 2019, there was pressure to further expand capacity, but was unable to solve a shortage of drivers. The difficulty in finding new drivers has been attributed to low wages and to federally mandated drug tests. Ridership of the North, South, and West lines reached 238,252 for the 2018–2019 time period. A new bus line dubbed "Snowstang" was announced in December of 2019. It will ferry passengers from Denver to Arapahoe Basin, Loveland Ski Area and Steamboat Springs.
- Whaley, Monte (April 15, 2015). "CDOT's statewide Bustang service to start July 13". The Denver Post.
- "Bustang Exceeds Ridership, Revenue Projections as it Hits 3-Year Anniversary". Colorado Department of Transportation.
- "DOT Announces Service Start Date for Bustang™". CDOT. April 15, 2015.
- Proctor, Cathy (July 12, 2016). "Bustang, Colorado's statewide bus service, gallops to big rider numbers". Denver Business Journal. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
- Stice, Alice (September 4, 2017). "Bustang fills demand for weekend route". Coloradoan.
- Kovaleski, Jennifer (October 27, 2017). "Local officials want CDOT's Bustang bus service expanded". The Denver Channel. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
- Heide, Ruth (May 2, 2018). "New bus line begins service". Alamosa News.
- Ashby, Charles (June 29, 2018). "Bustang service to Grand Junction begins today". The Daily Sentinel.
- Aguilar, John (June 28, 2018). "Bustang to launch new long-haul bus service this weekend between Grand Junction, Durango". The Denver Post.
- Case, Angela (December 13, 2018). "Bustang adds service between Colorado Springs and Denver Tech Center". Fox21News.
- "Preformence Plan" (PDF). Colorado Department of Transportation. CDOT.
- Aguilar, John (February 24, 2019). "Bustang popularity continues to climb in Colorado as driver shortage intensifies". The Denver Post.
- Curley, Caitlin (August 15, 2019). "Bustang route from Denver to Estes Park to begin this month". Gazette.
- Woodruff, Chase (December 4, 2019). "Polis, CDOT Unveil "Snowstang" Bus, an Answer to I-70 Ski Traffic". Westworld.