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Jan 17, 2012 8:07 PM by Matt Stafford

Big busing changes likely coming to Fountain

Several people in Fountain are concerned about public transportation. Mountain Metro Transit -- which services Colorado Springs and surrounding areas -- is looking to end bus routes in Fountain.

"We had no idea what we were going to do," says Charles Singbiel when he found out. He uses Metro along with his wife, Patricia.

"How is my husband going to get back and forth to work, because he's the main, sole supporter of the household?" ask Diane Redden; another bus rider.

There have been a lot of questions about what the busing changes mean for Fountain, coming from residents.

Mountain Metro says they're making changes because they're seeing more riders, and specifically paratransit riders - those who can't use regular busses and need extra help. Those costs keep going up, and cities like Fountain that contract the services have decisions to make.

"We determined that the cost of service through Mountain Metro was going to almost double," says Duane Greenwood; public works director for the City of Fountain.

Fountain had been paying around $360,000 a year to keep Mountain Metro routes; that price jumped to more than $720,000.

"Those numbers have been discussed with Fountain over the past couple of years, and they made a decision to go in a direction to provide the service themselves," says Andy Garton; Mountain Metro Transit's business administrator in the transit services division.

People like Patricia Singbiel -- who rely on the service -- are concerned. She's a paratransit rider, and usually only gets out of the house for medical appointments.

"I had to come out here today because it was so important to me, and I'm sure for other people," says Singbiel. She says the extra work it will take her will force her to cut back on doctor's appointments -- something she really doesn't want to do.

Others see the change in services differently.

"I'm glad to hear it, and I know my husband will be really glad," says bus rider Diane Redden; that's because most of their travel is in Fountain. It looks like their fares on the new system may be lower, so they could save some money.

Other customers who will have to ride and connect into the Mountain Metro system for transportation around Colorado Springs are concerned about paying fares with both services; many say the prices increase for them. Right now it looks like they will make the switch at Pikes Peak Community College.

"As long as it's running like it is right now we're fine, but if there is a lapse then there will be complications," says Redden.

The Mountain Metro routes in Fountain are expected to stop running at the end of March, and Fountain hopes the new system is ready at the same time.

"It's just a matter of seeing what's going to happen," says Charles Singbiel. He and others will just have to wait and see what the changes actually are.

Both the City of Fountain and Metro are saying that if it looks like there will be a lapse in busing services (because the contract with Metro ends before the Fountain system is up and running) they'll try to work out a way to keep services in the area in the meantime

The City of Fountain will discuss this in their city council meeting, Tuesday January 24th.

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