Southern Ute Community Action Programs held an open house on Thursday, June 5 in Ignacio to show off the two new buses that will provide daily trips from Durango to Grand Junction and back, starting in July.
They will operate as Roadrunner Stage Lines, an extension of the local Roadrunner bus routes that have operated for several years, one of the diverse community services that operate under SUCAP.
Clayton Richter, director of transportation for Roadrunner, said that the daily round trips will start in July, but he didn't have a specific date. The bus will leave at 7 a.m. from the Durango Transportation Center. The bus will arrive in Grand Junction about 12:45 p.m. and leave for the return trip about 1:45 p.m.
The expectation is that most people would spend the night in Grand Junction, not stay an hour and return to Durango, he said.
The fare will be $40 each way, with discounts for senior citizens and students, Richter said.
"SUCAP decided to do this because Greyhound pulled out in 2011," he said. "It's just something we felt there was a niche for it."
He continued, "We feel we can improve ridership drastically from Greyhound because of the hours they came through," their trip schedule. "This has been quite a project. It's been in the works since October 2011.
The buses were bought used from a dealer in Las Vegas, Nev. The prospective drivers "still have some testing to do, but they should be ready," Richter said.
The buses were supposed to get painted this week to say Roadrunner Stage Lines, with the SUCAP logo plus information required for federal motor carriers.
In Cortez, the regional bus will pick up passengers at Cortez Plaza, in Dolores at the Dolores Market, and in Mancos at the Chamber of Commerce. Tickets can be purchased from the driver.
Fares are prorated for shorter distances - for example, Cortez to Dolores will be $2, Cortez to Mancos $3, Dolores to Rico $6, Cortez to Telluride $12, Cortez to Durango $7.
The general phone number for Roadrunner information is 563-4545. Richter said there will be a new number for the stage lines and online at www.roadrunnerstagelines.com.