Downtown shuttle stays, bus fares to increase

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City Council decided last night to forego a proposal to cut 14,000 hours of municipal bus service, which means, among other things, that the free downtown shuttle will remain in operation.

Officials had planned to cut $1.3 million of expenses from the city’s bus service budget to cover a revenue shortfall. The downtown shuttle service would have been eliminated under the cuts.

But, during a budgeting session last night Council and city staff decided to keep the transit funding in place and instead cover revenue losses with increased bus fare rates, possibly from $1.25 to $1.50 for metro routes. Front Range Express Routes could be increased by $2, and the downtown shuttle service will be paid for with money from the city’s parking system.

Downtown shuttle service supporters said the decision will help efforts to get federal grant money for a trolley-like streetcar that would replace the free shuttle in the next couple of years.

The streetcar would make regular routes between downtown and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

The Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership is working on a streetcar feasibility study that will gather information used for federal transportation grant applications.