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Fare-free and loving it: Most ECO Transit passengers will now ride for free

Buses will run more frequently across most routes, and fare-free except in Gypsum and Leadville

Sunday, May 19 was the first day of ECO Transit's summer schedule and the Eagle Valley Transportation Authority's fare-free expansion, providing free rides to passengers on ECO Transit's Valley (except Gypsum), Highway 6 and Minturn routes.
Dayana Herr/Courtesy photo

The Eagle Valley Transportation Authority kicked off the first day of its fare-free expansion, as well as increased frequency of bus service, on Sunday. While the celebration of the event at the Vail Transportation Center was lighthearted, featuring costumes and free food, the change being recognized is significant: Most ECO Transit riders may not have to pay a fare to ride the bus ever again.

“This has really been the number one goal of the EVTA is getting this fare-free zone and operation into effect,” said Tanya Allen, executive director of the transportation authority. “Being able to launch it, really, launch it ahead of the planned schedule for the summer season is big and exciting and we hope it’s a sign of even better things to come as we get our feet under us and really start to pull things together.”

Fare-free service

Starting Sunday, passengers riding ECO Transit buses will only pay a fare if boarding or exiting in Gypsum or Leadville. Those heading to and from any other stop will ride for free, indefinitely.



At ECO Transit stops in Leadville and Gypsum, passengers will be required to board and exit through the front doors by the driver. If boarding at one of those stops, passengers pay the fare immediately 鈥斅爁or the average one-way rider, $3 in Gypsum and $7 in Leadville. Those planning to exit in either location can pay upon boarding and receive a token to show they have already paid or pay upon exiting.

“I hope it’s a service to the community. I hope it’s something that really makes people’s lives a little easier,” Allen said.

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The fare-free service is carried by two separate taxes of 0.5%, one that funds ECO Transit and one that funds the Eagle Valley Transportation Authority. The ballot measure that established the transportation authority passed in November 2022 after voters in unincorporated Eagle 久久热精品视频app, Beaver Creek, Vail, Avon, Minturn, Red Cliff and Eagle gave it the green light. Only residents in Gypsum voted against the authority’s formation.

Many riders, like this group, learned about the fare-free launch just before stepping onto an ECO bus on Sunday.
Stephanie Samuelson/Courtesy photo

Increased frequency

The fare-free service comes with the expectation of increased ridership, a phenomenon transportation authority staff witnessed when the Vail-Beaver Creek Express was offered fare-free for the first time this winter. To accommodate for the anticipated increase, the ECO Transit bus schedule was overhauled for the summer, with far more buses running per day.

“I am excited about the increase in service. I think it is going to help a lot of people, especially our workforce,” said Dayana Herr,聽the marketing, communications and customer relations manager聽for the transportation authority. “We have a lot of increase in service during a.m. and p.m. rush hours, so I think it’s going to work great for locals that regularly ride our buses, but also for the people that have not ridden our buses yet and want to try it out this summer.”

Most hours of the day, five buses will leave the Vail Transportation Center every hour heading west, up from three. There will be three buses per hour on the U.S. Highway 6 route, which ends at Lake Creek Village in Edwards, including one running a hybrid route that runs straight from Vail to Walmart in Avon and then begins making other westbound stops. Two buses will run along the Valley route from the Vail Transportation Center, which ends at Two Rivers Village in Dotsero. There is also a hybrid Valley bus that exclusively stops at Avon Station and the Chambers Park and Ride in Eagle.

The increased frequency of service is made possible through the transportation authority and ECO Transit’s emphasis on hiring over the past several months. Heading into the summer season, ECO Transit has more than enough drivers, even with higher demand.

Bryan Woods (left), Nick Sunday (center) and Amy Phillips (right) who represent Eagle and Avon on the Eagle Valley Transportation Authority board of directors, rode the bus to the Vail Transportation Center in costume to celebrate the fare-free expansion.
Dayana Herr/Courtesy photo

‘Free snacks for free fares’

Stephanie “Sunshine” Samuelson has greeted ECO Transit passengers and provided them with bus-related guidance at the Vail Transportation Center for 10 years. On Sunday, she passed out free food as part of the celebration, with a catchphrase: “Free snacks for free fares, Sunday and beyond,” Samuelson said.

About riding the bus, Samuelson said, “It’s probably more convenient than you think. Give it a look, check it out, and enjoy it. And if you have any questions, the booth at the transportation center, all the bus drivers, and everyone is willing to help you.”


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To celebrate the event, some of the people who help the Eagle Valley Transportation Authority run boarded ECO buses and headed for Vail on Sunday morning, some dressed in costumes. Amy Phillips, mayor of Avon and chair of the board of directors rode dressed as the Avon Town Crier. Nick Sunday, Eagle Town Council member and board member, donned the Chicken Man costume typically touted by Avon resident Tim McMahon. Fellow Eagle Town Council member and transportation authority board alternate Bryan Woods also donned a fuzzy suit for the celebration.

ECO Transit’s summer service will run from May 19 until Nov. 23. The new summer service schedule holds many changes beyond these. For the full summer bus schedule and more information about the payment structures, visit . Every bus stop also has the new expanded service summer bus schedules posted, as well as a QR code that links to the online version of the schedules. 


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