Outrider Bus Service Connects Rural Colorado

Imagine you live in rural Colorado and you attend school more than 100 miles away from your home and job.

Or maybe you’re a senior citizen who no longer drives. All your doctors are more than 120 miles away but the bus you take to and from your appointments doesn’t pick you back up until 3 a.m.

September 2016 – April 2017
In the fall of 2016, CIG was selected to work on behalf of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to develop a strategy for the most effective ways to communicate a rebranded bus service in rural areas of Colorado along three distinct bus routes. An offshoot of CDOT’s successful Bustang service, Outrider creates meaningful schedules, equitable fares and new bus stops in rural areas of Colorado to connect people with major transit hubs.

Before Outrider, these rural areas relied on a fragmented bus service – individual routes each with different schedules, vehicles and fare structures. CDOT recognized the need for a cohesive, reliable service and CIG was more than prepared to help communicate upcoming changes to the affected communities.

April – June 2017
As we know, change can be hard. Through years of experience on large-scale projects aimed at influencing public perception and behavior, CIG understands the importance of talking directly with the people affected by such change. CIG conducted more than 20 meetings across the state with county commissioners, university leaders and key stakeholder groups in the communities Outrider would serve. Our team also presented at local city council and board of trustee meetings to share information with and gather feedback from residents and city leaders at each specific stop along all three determined Outrider bus routes. CIG created communications tools, including fact sheets and system maps, to facilitate education, awareness and engagement among these stakeholders to introduce the rebranded service.

Throughout the public engagement process, CIG carefully listened to input and ideas from every group – from how to advertise the new service to possible advantages for seniors and local business owners – compiling a thorough and thoughtful report for our client. By meeting directly with stakeholders, CIG was able to highlight the benefits of Outrider, build trust among constituents and optimize service based on the needs of each individual community.

CIG was CDOT’s eyes, ears and wheels on the ground in every community – each of which had very different needs from a bus service, from a need to get into Denver for work to adding a bus stop at a homeless coalition to helping a student in Moffat, Colorado commute to campus. Without this level of careful engagement and city involvement, these life-changing details may have been overlooked.

In a world where face-to-face meetings are a dying art, CIG values the importance of building meaningful relationships, especially when they’re just a road trip away. This is a firm that believes in going the extra mile (or 2,771 miles to be exact) to communicate in the most effective way possible — person-to-person, one transportation user to another — and working together to solve problems.

November 2017 – January 2018
In the fall of 2017, CDOT announced it would be opening the first Outrider line, Lamar to Pueblo, ahead of schedule on Jan. 2, 2018. CIG quickly set up an additional 12 meetings with leaders in each community along the route to communicate the start of service, final bus stop locations, key details and to gather any final feedback before the end of the year.

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Among other communication tools, CIG created fact sheets and system maps, to facilitate education to introduce the rebranded service to key stakeholders.

CIGers Julie and Maddy visit an Outrider bus stop in Fort Lyons to meet with stakeholders and answer questions about CDOT's new service.

CIG spent a year and a half exploring, visiting and meeting people from rural areas across Colorado. Our team members visited places that, even as natives, we had never been before. Through these trips, meetings and correspondence, we met people who made lasting impressions on how we view the need for rural transportation and why it is so impactful in today’s world. We are excited to see the Outrider service grow and we’re proud of the role our team has played in helping to provide meaningful connections to people and places.