(PIKES PEAK) – It turns out you may not have to use a shuttle bus to visit the Pikes Peak summit after all.
Jack Glavan, who is the manager of Pikes Peak, America’s Mountain, tells us traffic is low early in the day and later in the day. That gives visitors a chance to drive the highway instead of riding the buses to the very top and back down.
“We’re just working to accommodate both customers and shuttle drivers,” said Glavan.
Your best chance to avoid the shuttles is from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and in the evening after 4 p.m. or 4:30 p.m.
But will this change of pace end up changing back? Apparently not, “Unless we see demand increase drastically from the first six weeks we’ve had in the summer.”
Do you need a refresher on the shuttle service? Fear not, here it is:
“Due to construction of the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex and an anticipated record-number of visitors, most folks will have to take shuttles to drive to the top of America’s Mountain this summer. The closure of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway is also expected increase vehicle traffic.
Construction of the new summit complex will force the closure of roughly half of the mountain-top parking lot, leaving only about 100 parking spaces at any given time. While these spots will remain open, the city said priority for the spots will be given to certain travelers:
Vehicles carrying disabled passengers
Vehicles carrying small children in car seats
Motorcycles – groups of less than 10
Pre-approved buses (must receive approval prior to arriving at the Pikes Peak Highway)
Drivers heading up Pikes Peak Highway will pay the access fee as usual at the toll plaza, which will be additionally staffed to handle the increased traffic. They will then park either at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb pit area at the 7-mile mark or at Devil’s Playground above timberline.”
In fact, hopes are high in the mountain management office, that the shuttle fleet might increase in the months or years to come. Currently standing at around 25 vehicles, Glavan shared that he hopes to increase the number to 35 when the opportunity arises.
We also asked if the construction at the summit and the closure of the Cog Railway is impacting tourism activity. Glavan tells us, numbers are up, not down compared to last year.
“Last year was a record visitation year for us,” Glavan said. “Currently we’re 25 percent ahead of that number.”
During June of 2017, mountain management said approximately 79,000 people visited the literally monumental Colorado attraction, “This year in June we’re at around 92,000,” Glavan continued.
All that extra traffic means about $40,000 to $50,000 extra in the Pikes Peak coffers, “That’s translating to maybe the expenses we’re spending on the shuttle system itself.”
Let’s not forget, the shuttle service is expected to stick around through the 2020 building season.