Aspen began its effort to get buses out of town faster by testing the new bus lane on Main Street heading out of town. The city will restricting parking along Main Street from 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, to create the new bus lane.
The new lane is working as expected, but the real test comes in another week or two, when high season really kicks into gear. During the offseason, roughly 21,000 cars drive in and out of Aspen on a given day. In July and August, that number jumps to 29,000, which can translate into cars backed up for six or seven blocks.
Although city officials are grateful for the chance to move buses through town faster, they know the new bus lane isn't a solution to the city's traffic problem. The hope is that anything that improves the bus-riding experience will encourage more people to get out of their cars and onto the bus.
"[The new lane] wasn't intended to solve traffic congestion at all," City Transportation Director John Krueger said. "It's to help buses that have 40, 50, 60 people on them get out of town quicker."