The city of Cripple Creek is placing a few hefty bets on better transit and mobility advancements within the region to attract more visitors and to make travel easier for local residents.
For years, limited transportation opportunities have been cited as a major “Achilles’ heel” for the district, according to many surveys, especially for people on fixed incomes who don’t own a car. Plus, motorized travel to and from the district for tourists and gamblers has often been described as a risky gamble due to the weather. In recent years, the city and Aspen Mine Center have mulled various ways to expand Cripple Creek’s transit system.
Last week, Cripple Creek City Administrator Ray DuBois announced two transportation-related initiatives that could open the door slightly for residents interested in doing business in Woodland Park and for visitors from Woodland, along with the future prospects associated with electric cars.
Starting Wednesday, the Cripple Creek Shuttle will provide round trips between the Creek and Woodland Park one-day a week between 8:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Two round trips will be provided between the two locales on every Wednesday.
The program is part of a grant and partnership among the city of Cripple Creek, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Teller Senior Coalition.
“We see a broad range of users for this service,” said DuBois. He says the service will be initially designed for local residents who may want to do business in Woodland, whether this consists of shopping, handling appointments or tending to personal needs. And at the same time, the administrator sees this service allowing Woodland Park folks to visit Cripple Creek more.
The shuttle will depart from the Aspen Mine Center and take passengers to the senior center in Woodland Park, near city hall. From there, a Teller senior van or bus could take people to various spots in Woodland Park, such as the Wal-Mart store, or the downtown area, or county offices.
The cost of the service is only $5 for a round-trip and $2.50 just for a one-way trip.
The service isn’t just designed for senior citizens or people who can’t drive or don’t have an operational vehicle.
With a burgeoning interest in outdoor activities in Teller County, DuBois sees the service eventually catering to cyclists, hikers and other recreational buffs who may want to bike or walk one-way, such as between Cripple Creek and Woodland Park, often dubbed as an easier, downhill route. He said racks may be added to the shuttle to accommodate these customers. “We would probably promote this, if it becomes available,” said the city administrator.
DuBois also expressed optimism about the service becoming a link between Cripple Creek and Colorado Springs, allowing passengers to hop onto a Ramblin Express bus to continue their trip. Facilitating travel between Cripple Creek and Woodland Park and Colorado Springs has been a frequent topic of a local transportation committee.
”We don’t see this as competing with any current services,” said DuBois. “There are a lot of possibilities. We are very excited about this.”
The service will kick off on the morning of April 8 with a brief presentation at the Aspen Mine Center, prior to the debut ride, slated for 8:45 p.m.
If interest in this service grows, DuBois said the city would explore the possibility of adding another day to the transit lineup.
Electric car rally brewing
In yet another move to attract future visitors and even high-end motorists, the city has decided to entice the operators of electric cars, considered the wave of the future, by establishing a charging station in the city parking lot on Bennett Avenue. This would allow certain electric car owners to charge up their vehicles free of charge. The city would foot the bill for these costs, through a deal it is crafting between Cripple Creek and the California-based Tesla Motors, the producers of premiere electric vehicles.
A similar enticement is being considered by the Wildwood Casino, the Double Eagle Casino and Hotel and Carr Manor.
And with the prospects of more charging stations in Colorado Springs, free electric car travel between the Springs and Cripple Creek could become a possibility in the future.
“We will have an electric car rally, quipped DuBois, who presented the concept of the plan at last week’s council meeting, and briefly outlined the costs.