Bustang Outrider

The Challenge

In many rural areas of Colorado, getting around without a car is challenging, if not impossible — especially for those who can’t drive or aren’t comfortable behind the wheel. Residents of rural communities have had to rely on fragmented and inconsistent bus service — making it difficult to access things like medical appointments, school, recreation and other amenities. In 2016, CDOT began planning for a new regional bus network designed to connect rural Colorado, called Outrider. An offshoot of CDOT’s successful Bustang service, Outrider sought to create meaningful schedules, equitable fares and new bus stops in rural areas to link locals to major transit hubs. 

Before buses were ready to board, CDOT wanted to gather input from members of the communities Outrider would serve – designing schedules and stop locations that worked best for the people directly impacted. CDOT came to CIG to design and carry out a public outreach and engagement approach that would ensure each community had a voice in deciding where and when Outrider would operate.
 

CDOT wanted to gather input from members of the communities Outrider would serve.

Our Solution

CIG assembled a comprehensive plan that involved traveling to each city and town across four new routes — including Durango, Grand Junction, Alamosa, Pueblo, Lamar, Colorado Springs, Gunnison and more — for in-person meetings. Using a tailored approach for each unique community, CIG carefully listened to every group’s input and ideas throughout the public engagement process, compiling thorough and thoughtful reports for CDOT. Our team traveled 2,771 miles across the state to attend 23 meetings with county commissioners, town administrators, chambers of commerce and other special interest groups representing each of the 34 rural communities along the proposed routes. By meeting directly with stakeholders, CIG highlighted the benefits of Outrider, built trust among constituents, and optimized service based on each community’s needs. CDOT launched Bustang Outrider with four routes in 2018 — Durango-Grand Junction, Alamosa-Pueblo, Lamar-Colorado Springs and Gunnison-Denver — which passengers welcomed with immediate ridership in the surrounding communities.

After two years of steady ridership demand, CDOT increased Outrider’s routes with four new lines slated to start in 2021 — which meant engaging with new communities, including Craig, Telluride and Trinidad, to collect new input from residents and local leaders impacted by the new routes and schedules. Due to COVID-19, CIG adjusted our approach to conduct outreach virtually and safely. Our team organized four virtual public meetings to introduce each of the new proposed routes and answer questions, following up with online surveys to generate feedback. 

Our team traveled 2,771 miles across the state to attend 23 meetings.

The Results

The surveys accumulated more than 700 responses and, as of January 2021, CIG has assisted with 31 one-on-one virtual meetings with county stakeholders. During CIG’s outreach, Outrider’s Facebook following increased by nearly 28%. CIG also generated close to 450 new stakeholder connections, organized into contact lists for each route to provide timely email updates to constituents. In promoting the new routes from May 2020 through January 2021, CIG has generated more than 3.6 million media impressions across internet, TV, print and social media worth an estimated $26,666 in publicity value.

Rural stakeholders are increasingly receptive to Bustang Outrider, recognizing the benefits of both improved local mobility and connections to the broader Bustang and state transportation system. CIG’s tailored strategic communications plan is underway for the remaining routes scheduled to start in summer 2021.

During CIG’s outreach, Outrider’s Facebook following increased by nearly 28%.

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Denver, CO 80264
303.670.2537
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© Communication Infrastructure Group 2020