One of the many benefits of living in Summit County, Colorado, is our community’s free transit system: Summit Stage. The bus service began operating in 1977 and services visitors and residents throughout Summit County. That includes the towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, Silverthorne, and Blue River. Summit Stage also services our local ski areas, including Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Copper Mountain, and Keystone Resort.
If you’ve only been a visitor to Summit County, you may have ridden the Summit Stage bus once or twice. Summit Stage offers more than just an incredible convenience, however. It also serves as a lifeline to many Summit County locals who rely on it daily for transportation to and from work, healthcare services, and more! It’s also a reliable option for a ride back from a fun night out.
Luckily for Summit County locals and homeowners, the Summit Stage is about to become even better – and bigger.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) was awarded several federal grants last month, including one for $34.7 million earmarked for Summit County.
Funds will be used for a new Summit Stage bus facility, providing a larger depot space to store more buses. The new space will also have electric charging capabilities, providing the ability to store and charge electric buses: a major step forward for the county.
The plan for Summit Stage “aligns with the local Climate Action Plan and Summit County’s goal of reducing emissions from transportation 25% by 2030 and 91% by 2050,” according to Summit County government officials.
Transit director at Summit Stage, Chris Lubbers, recently expressed via email to the Summit Daily how these changes are long overdue.
“During an 8-hour driving shift, an electric bus will use about the same amount of energy an average single-family home would consume in a month,” Lubbers told the newspaper.
Many current Summit Stage buses run on diesel, meaning those buses only get four mpg for fuel efficiency. Diesel buses use more energy and are much less efficient than their electric counterparts, which get an energy-use equivalent of 16 mpg.
In addition to electric bus capabilities and fleet and storage expansion, a portion of the federal grant will go toward emergency housing space for Summit Stage employees. The housing will be used for drivers who don’t finish a shift until 2 or 3 am, those who live in neighboring counties, and in the event of bad weather.
The housing will also provide temporary residence for new hires transitioning to the area as they look for permanent housing. Ultimately, the emergency housing space will solve some of the challenges Summit Stage faces when it comes to ensuring its operations are fully staffed.
Planning for the new bus facility will likely be finished in the spring, with construction beginning in the fall. Officials say the construction will take approximately 18 months to complete.
An ever-improving, reliable transportation system is of the utmost value to any community, especially Summit County. By transitioning to electric, providing expanded services, and meeting more needs of its staff, Summit Stage will improve the lives of locals and tourists and positively contribute to our Climate Action Plan.
Community developments like these contribute to the highly desirable quality of life and property values Summit County offers.
Interested in learning more about Summit Stage – or better yet – real estate that easily accesses it? Contact us today!