Longmont City Council Approves Regional Bus Service Subsidy

January 23, 2019
Ela Nelson boards the FLEX bus at the stop at Eighth Avenue and Coffman Street on Friday.

Longmont City Council voted unanimously to pay $185,675 in local government subsidies for FLEX regional bus service that connects Fort Collins, Loveland, Berthoud, Longmont and Boulder.

Because of an expired federal grant, Longmont and those other Northern Colorado communities will be paying more than in past years to underwrite FLEX service expenses.

In Longmont’s case, the $185,675 payment for FLEX mass transit service in 2019 is up from $46,350 in 2018.

Two Longmont residents identifying themselves as FLEX riders — Cameron McKay, who said he rides the bus to and from his job in Loveland, and Ann Hess, who said she rides it to and from work in Fort Collins — urged council to continue Longmont’s subsidy of the regional service.

“It’s my main method of commuting to my job,” said McKay, a Corey Street resident who said he’s met “a cross section” of city residents who also ride FLEX.

He called the bus service “inexpensive, high quality transit.”

The resolution authorizing Longmont to participate in the intergovernmental agreement for the bus service and to make the 2019 payment was on council’s consent agenda, and no one on the council pulled it off in order to discuss or debate it before voting.

Phil Greenwald, city transportation planning manager, has noted that FLEX passenger fares will not increase from 2018 levels.

The cost of a single ride will continue to be $1.25. Seniors 60 and older and passengers who are disabled or on Medicare will continue to be charged 60 cents a trip. Youth younger than 17 with approved IDs can ride for free.

The government-subsidized bus service, operated by Transfort, Fort Collins’ transit department, provides trips from Fort Collins to Boulder and back, with stops in Longmont, Loveland and Berthoud.

John Fryar: 303-684-5211, jfryar@times-call.com or twitter.com/jfryartc

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