“As the driver attempted to execute a three-point turnaround, it got stuck across U.S. 6, requiring a tow from a front-end loader belonging to Loveland. Then the driver put chains on the bus and set a course for A-Basin via Silverthorne. The bus arrived at A-Basin nearly 2½ hours past its scheduled arrival of 8:30 a.m. The bus was stuck at Loveland for about 25 minutes.” –Denver Post
First and foremost, this is in no way condemning the Snowstang Bus from Denver to A-Basin. We are proponents of group travel in the mountains with benefits ranging from lowering vehicle density on the highway system, to cost-effectiveness/reduced carbon footprint, to the ability to enjoy a few extra carefree soda pops at the lodge after a day on the hill… it’s a good thing.
With that said, the service had a rough opening weekend with the inaugural excursion Saturday morning being met with heavy snowfall and hazardous driving conditions. The Denver Post reports I-70 was slammed and a last-minute replacement bus driver made a rookie mistake that required a front-end loader to fix. Riders arrived 2.5 hours after scheduled time.
“Our contracted operator disclosed that the bus driver who departed Union Station was a last-minute replacement for the originally scheduled driver and the new driver had not participated in CDOT-led preparations and was not fully aware of the required rerouting through Dillon when adverse conditions close Loveland Pass. That driver was replaced for the return trip to Denver. For future trips, additional training and retraining will be conducted with all drivers, including those who could be scheduled to operate Snowstang.”
All riders were given full refunds of their round-trip fare ($25), along with gift cards worth $25 at A-Basin. CDOT will also be issuing riders $15 vouchers for future trips.
“CDOT will be meeting with the contractor early this week to further review the Saturday trip. and determine additional precautions that will be taken to ensure that their drivers are fully apprised of up-to-date information from CDOT’s maintenance and operations centers, and to reiterate expectations related to safety and reliability.”
If you don’t think this is a nasty kick in the butt and call to arms for the Snowstang service to get their acts together you are mistaken. Future trips will no doubt be under massive scrutiny to make sure riders are satisfied with the service. If you’re not too put off by the opening weekend speedbump, we highly suggest you look into booking a trip HERE.
images from The Denver Post