By Jeff Todd
DENVER (CBS4) – Residents in the west Denver metro area are going to need to find a new way to get to the airport in November.
The A Line to the Denver International Airport shuttle has been running from Olde Town Arvada to DIA since 2003. But the nonprofit shuttle has been heavily subsidized by the Regional Transportation District and knew the money was going to dry up with the G Line train opens this fall.
The train’s opening has been delayed until issues with RTD’s University of Colorado A Line train get resolved.
“I’m very sad this is wonderful. It’s been a fantastic service. There’s nothing more convenient,” said Jennifer Colestock, who told CBS4 she’s taken the shuttle five or six times for the past five years.
“It has been kind of bittersweet because we are going to miss everybody and they’ve been kind and fond of us,” said Shelley Cook, General Manager and President of Ride Provide, a nonprofit that has run the Arvada shuttle. “We’re sad too because we’ve had really good run. we’ve had the best customers.”
The Arvada shuttle was set up with the help from cities, RTD and private citizens after a bus line to DIA was eliminated nearly 15 years ago. The shuttle was set up in 2003 and has had steady growth since. In 2015 it serviced 150 people per day and more than 61,000 throughout the year.
“Twenty percent of our boardings everyday are people going to the airport to work,” Cook said. “Our consideration was, could we continue to operate safely and reliably, just like we pride ourselves?” Cook said about continuing service beyond Oct. 31. “My decision and our board’s decision is that we wouldn’t. You need full staffing; you need reliable vehicles. This van has almost 400,000 miles on it. It’s two years old. Our employees are moving on. Some of them have jobs that start, or are predicated on a Nov. 1 ramp up.”
The problem is the G Line train isn’t running and doesn’t not have a start date, although RTD has stood by a “Fall 2016” timeline.
This week RTD General Manager Dave Genova said The G Line will be delayed until problems with the A Line are fixed. The A Line is getting new software hoping to fix a timing issue that triggers the guard crossings.
“Regarding the G Line, we are not continuing with testing on the G Line until we resolve the grade crossings on the University of Colorado A Line and the one private grade crossing on the B Line. We are continuing to target a fall, 2016 opening for the G Line. And we are also still aiming at winter, 2016, for the opening of the R Line, a light rail extension in Aurora,” Genova said.
Because of the service shortage for Olde Town Arvada, the drivers and employees of the shuttle have been helping their customers learn new ways to get to the airport, including the Westminster B Line station and services available on U.S. 36.
“Considering we had good options for people in what probably will be a pretty short gap we thought we’d go ahead and stick with our time frame,” Cooke said about closing at the end of the month. “You’re going to like what’s coming, I promise.”
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.