Comment history

Scott Ford says...

Good Morning Rhys & Scott W –

Until yesterday afternoon (on the bus again) I had no idea that the Cinnamon Line transformed into the Aqua Line at the Space Station Stop. There is nothing in the printed Winter Bus schedule brochure that indicates this. It is clearly printed that the Blue Line transforms into the Green Line at the GTC; and the Green Line subsequently transforms back into the Blue Line when it returns.

I learned of the Cinnamon/Aqua Line transformation yesterday when I caught the Cinnamon Line at Central Park Plaza. I had planned my quick meeting at Alpine Bank and shopping trip so I could catch the Cinnamon Line back to my neighborhood. At the Space Station stop the Cinnamon Line driver told us that this bus was becoming the Aqua Line. Unlike my experience Thursday night this time the bus driver said to the eight passengers on the bus we could stay on the bus because when he completes his “west loop” the bus will transform back into a Cinnamon Line. Two folks got off and the remaining six of us went on a longer bus ride that included a tour of west Steamboat.

The driver on my Thursday night experience described in the article above – should had told us the same thing. If the choice is get off the Cinnamon Line at Space Station, wait 35 minutes in the cold or stay on the bus and take a tour of west Steamboat until the bus returns to the exact same place and transforms into the Cinnamon Line – I am going to stay on the bus.

Live and Learn!

(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be those shared by my fellow council members.)

Scott Ford says...

Hi Rhys –

I think part of my problem is the GPS system on the bus and the supporting website which can be accessed via a smart phone.

I have started using the RouteShout website to help me know when the next bus is scheduled at a stop. My experience is that it does a pretty good job in the morning but seems to get “goofy” as the day progresses. Let me share a recent story.

On New Year’s Eve day it was really cold. Four of us were waiting for the Blue Line to downtown at about 3:00 pm and I pulled out my smart phone. I let folks know that the next Blue Line bus was scheduled at our US 40 and Anglers Drive (Safeway stop) in eight minutes. The four of us huddled together watching the estimated arrival time count down on my phone, six minutes turned into three minutes until it said “NOW Arriving”. Only problem – no bus! We collectively as a group looked up the road, back to the “smart phone” and then back to the road. “Where’s the bus”? I told the group it was not here unless it was incredibly small, invisible or cleverly disguised as a B&K beer truck.

Moments later the website refreshed and posted a new estimated arrival time of 11 minutes. I put my phone back in my pocket. A Blue Line bus came, my guess in about 11 minutes. Four very well chilled folks got on the bus more thankful initially for a place of warmth than where the bus was going.

It is a bummer to get one’s hope up that a bus is about to arrive only to have them dashed because of the false hope placed in a nifty piece of technology. I would be interested in hearing what the experience of others have been using the RouteShout website.

(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be that of my fellow council members.)

Scott Ford says...

Hi Eric -

I will look into how the existing ADA van is being used and let you know.

Scott Ford says...

Hi Alan and All –

I learned this afternoon after a conversation with the City Manager that a modified version of the van service you suggested during public comment Tuesday night should become a reality next week. This van will be servicing the west end of town.

The City will be leasing a van. Because it will be a part of the City's SST system the van needs to be ADA compliant. The details and the hours of service are being worked out and will be announced early next week.

I wanted to let you know that something is in the “works”.
*(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by my fellow council members.)*

Scott Ford says...

Good Morning Scott W. –

Good suggestion worthy of consideration. I like the approach the Steamboat Springs School District removed the area specific residency requirement and all candidates for board seats are essentially “at large”.

As background since I live in District II, I made the decision to run for a 4-year term in that district. As a result I was going to be challenging Kenny. Not to be misunderstood, although I would be challenging Kenny it was not about the job Kenny was doing. I simply wanted to change the course of the discussion and decisions that were being made surrounding the Police Station.(I am still on that mission.)

A week before the petitions were due (I had already filed) Kenny and Kevin let me know that they were switching races. Kevin would be running for the 4-year term in District II and Kenny would run for the 2-year term as the at large candidate. I was OK with this because it did not matter – I wanted to have a debate about the Police Station regardless of who I was debating.

I was thunderstruck when on Tuesday morning following the candidate filing deadline – Sonja called me to congratulate me and welcome me to City Council. What?! Apparently sometime during prior week Kevin made the decision not to run. Oh, well I was now on City Council.

I had never been a part of a formal appointed and/or elected board. Talk about jumping into the deep end of the pool. I believe over the past year I have learned a lot with the realization I have a lot more to learn. I am aware of the responsibilities associated with this position and do my best to honor that responsibility. As a part of my learning I enjoy hearing what others think and why. It truly informs me.

*(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by fellow council members.)*

Scott Ford says...

Peter –
Thanks for sharing your story. I can only imagine how angry/frustrated I would have been. Your story helps remind all of us that people are impacted by the decisions that are made and to be mindful of that reality.
*(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by fellow council members.)*

Scott Ford says...

Hi Jerry –

If we use only the boundaries of the city limits the percentage is closer 6.4% (470/7,400). Keep in mind this percentage is only individuals going to work and use the bus as their primary means of transportation.

Hi Jeff –

I am often guilty of when someone asks me the time – I tell them how the watch was made. I do, however, eventually get around to answering the question they asked.

Hi All -
Before we begin to torture public transit numbers far beyond what they can tell us – the focus of the article we are posting to was a review of a few of the items council made decisions on during 2014. Keeping in mind that essentially City Council is comprised of 7 individuals with very diverse backgrounds with very different decision making styles – how do you think we are doing?

This is an important question to ask because this November four City Council seats will be up for election. Two will be open seats because Kenny and Scott M will be term limited. Although eligible to run again, I do not know what Bart or Sonja have planned.

In the last election (11/2013) four seats were again up for election and three of those seats were unopposed. I was a beneficiary of the outcome because I ran unopposed. I think as a community we can do better than having 3 out of 4 seats be unopposed. Agree?

Scott Ford says...

I enjoy the exchange that is occurring and I hope others do as well.
Neil, Stuart and Scott W –
My choice of words, “small segment” is being misunderstood. A small segment of the population calls “911” in any given day – that does not mean that the “911” service is not valuable and essential. As I said in my previous posting about bus service, “I have a growing appreciation of its importance.”
Here is the data/math I am aware of as of 2013. Looking only at public transit as a means to work, of the 10,050 individuals age 16+ going to work, 480 take bus. (US Census/2013 American Community Survey/Steamboat Springs CCD). If we limit this data to only within the city limits of Steamboat Springs the ratio is 7,400 to 470. Of the 470 taking the bus to work 60% of them are between the ages of 16 to 24. Of the approximately 5,100 households in Steamboat, about 175 households do not have a vehicle. Of the households that do not have a vehicle available about 65% live in renter occupied housing.

Scott Ford says...

Good Morning Rhys –

I accepted a challenge issued by Maybelle Chotvacs and have been riding the bus more often than not for my routine back and forth errands. I ride the both the Cinnamon and Blue lines. I have only ridden the Aqua and Green lines one time each.

For me riding the busses has been essentially a mobile town hall. I make it no secret that I am a member of City Council – and I have had a spectrum of opinions expressed by passengers. I have the drivers simply say thanks for making the effort to ride the bus. I will acknowledge that it is a unique bonding experience to huddle with a dozen folks at a bus stop waiting for a bus when it is 10 below.

Since I am fairly well known in town I have been asked by passersby’s, “Don’t you own a car? And “Did you get a DUI or something?”, as to the reason I was riding the bus.

Although I have not done the math in a while, a small segment of our population and/or visitors ride the City bus – but for those that do it is an important service. I have a growing appreciation of its importance. This is one of the reasons I am interested in developing a long-term strategy that is proactive and less reactive.

(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by my fellow council members.)

Scott Ford says...

Good Morning Neil –

The cut in bus services was a part of the overall $52 million budget package discussed by City Council during the budget workday, October 7th. There was not a specific vote on bus service. Of all of the various topics discussed that day the topics of employee compensation and transportation were the two that received the most attention. City staff defended the cuts and the necessary change in transportation services. Sonja expressed the greatest concern of who would be impacted by this change.

Prior to the approval of the first reading of the 2015 budget council asked for a more in-depth presentation of what the proposed changes in bus services would look like. This presentation was made by Jonathan Flint Director of Transportation on 10/14. It was during this presentation I became mindful that the difficulty of providing the previous level of services was not just a money issue but staffing and regulations as well. Council was assured by staff that the proposed changes could work but there would be challenges and some “tweaks” may need to be made as the schedule is implemented.

The first reading of the ordnance accepting the 2015 budget package occurred on 10/28 and the second reading occurred on 11/11. At both readings Sonja opposed the adoption of the 2015 budget because of the proposed changes in bus services. All the rest of us voted to approve the first reading of the budget. Council Member Reisman was absent for the second reading.

This is a complex issue where simply throwing money at it will not necessarily fix it. What this issue has highlighted to me is that we need a long term strategy. I am committed to working on this.

*(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by my fellow council members.)*