Montezuma County officials are encouraging local residents to take advantage of affordable public transportation that is being underutilized.
Under a CDOT transportation license, the MoCo bus system offers residents and visitors of all ages rides to and from their destination.
“What makes it so convenient is we pick up and drop off door to door. When you need a ride back home, we will come and get you,” said Mary Holaday, county transit manager.
Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, although times are flexible. Drivers need advance notice of the trip by 3 p.m. the day before transportation is needed. No service is offered on weekends. For a ride on Monday, notice is needed by 3 p.m. on Friday.
Rates vary. Five to 10 miles is $5. Round-trip service to Dolores from Cortez is $10. Round-trip service from Cortez to Mancos is $15.
Use of the midsize bus and van is convenient for doctor appointments, going shopping in the next town over, conducting errands or meeting a friend for lunch.
The service is also available for tourists, hikers, cyclists, and Mesa Verde National Park service workers needing to get to town from employee housing.
From Cortez, a round-trip ticket to the Sand Canyon trail head down McElmo canyon would be $15. Pets are allowed if they are controlled.
Other opportunities suggested by staff include riding the MoCo transit to the Anasazi Heritage Center to view an exhibit, to the Dolores River to hike or fish, or to catch an afternoon movie in Cortez.
“Are you trying to fill up our bus with hikers?” laughed Sue Fletcher, MoCo program director. She shrugged and added, “That’s what the service is for: to pick you up take you where you need to go, and then get you back home.
“Some folks just like going along for the ride as we pick up and drop off customers.”
Room for bicycles is limited, she said. But if it became a community need, grants could be obtained to add bike carriers onto the buses.
Trips to Durango and Dove Creek can be arranged as well, but they can only be for medical appointments. The MoCo transit department needs two weeks’ notice for those trips. Round-trip to Dove Creek is $35; roundtrip to Durango is $50.
MoCo includes a midsize 13-passenger bus and two four-passenger vans. All vehicles are wheelchair accessible.
Officials encourage residents and visitors to take advantage of the friendly, convenient transportation service.
“It is there when you need it,” said customer Nancy Ruiz. “When I got hurt, I used MoCo to get to physical therapy appointments and to do errands because I couldn’t drive. I highly recommend the service.”
Call (970) 564-2773 to schedule a ride.