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Town of Vail encourages use of free Hiker Express Shuttle to East Vail trailheads

June 11, 2023, 9:36 am

The Town of Vail recently issued the following press release on its Hiker Express Shuttle to East Vail:

Accessing the popular East Vail hiking trails via public transit is now even easier with the new Hiker Express Shuttle on the Town of Vail’s East Vail bus route. The route offers 30-minute direct service from the Vail Transportation Center to bus stops near the East Vail Trailheads daily through Sep. 3 and Fridays through Sundays Sept. 8 through Oct. 8.  

Like all the town’s bus routes, the Hiker Express is offered at no charge to riders. The expanded service is part of the statewide “Zero Fare For Better Air, We’ll Get You There” initiative designed to reduce ground-level ozone by increasing the use of transit, and was made possible by Colorado Senate Bill 22-180, the Ozone Season Transit Grant Program in partnership with the Colorado Energy Office. 

Vail’s Bus It to Hike It campaign is part of a years-long collaboration between the Town of Vail and White River National Forest to address crowding on East Vail trails, especially at Booth Lake Trail which is now only accessible via bus or hiker drop-off during the summer months. 

“Zero Fare For Better Air, We’ll Get You There” encourages residents and visitors to ride transit to help keep Colorado’s air clean during the summer months when air pollution is at its highest. The Town of Vail welcomes hikers who may otherwise have driven a personal vehicle to the trailhead to instead choose transit as a cleaner and more affordable option.  

“The pilot program that launched August of last year was highly successful. Transit systems from all over the state participated, ranging from those serving the largest cities like RTD in Denver to regional rural systems like SMART in San Miguel County (Telluride region). Mid-size cities throughout Colorado, like Greeley, Pueblo and Colorado Springs participated in the program.  Smaller communities in mountain towns, the eastern plains and western slope also took advantage of this amazing opportunity.” Colorado Association of Transit Agencies (CASTA) Executive Director Ann Rajewski said, “All agencies that participated increased ridership—ranging anywhere between 2% to 59%. This year we are expanding the program for the entire summer and are expecting to increase the number of transit agencies participating.”  

Area trail information and how it connects to Vail Transit can be found at hikevail.net. Visit vailgov.com/bus for full bus schedules or pick up a copy at the Vail Transit Center. Please note that only service dogs are allowed on town buses. For additional details, visit the Vail Welcome Centers or 970-477-3522. 

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