The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority has been in operation since 1983, and functions as a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). The RTA includes the communities of Aspen, Snowmass Village, Pitkin County, Basalt, and a portion of Eagle County, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and the newest member New Castle. RFTA provides commuter bus service from Aspen to Glenwood Springs (Roaring Fork Valley), Glenwood to Rifle (Hogback), intra city service in Aspen and Glenwood Springs, ski shuttle service to the four Aspen Skiing Company ski areas, the Maroon Bells Guided Bus Tours, and a variety of other seasonal services.
In November 2000, The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) was created by voters in seven jurisdictions within the Roaring Fork Valley. Its predecessor, the Roaring Fork Transit Agency, was created in 1993 by means of an Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Aspen and Pitkin County, who merged their separate transit systems in order to achieve economies of scale.
In 2001 the Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority (RFRHA) was merged into RFTA. RFRHA was created in 1993 by the same constituent governments as RFTA, in order to acquire 34 miles of the Rio Grande Railroad corridor in the Roaring Fork Valley, which it purchased in 1997. The corridor was assumed by RFTA, which is preserving it for a future mass transit system and, in the interim, is using it for a recreational trail. In 2002, the Roaring Fork Transit Agency was also merged into RFTA along with its employees and equipment.
The initial members of RFTA included the communities of Aspen, Snowmass Village, Pitkin County, Basalt, a portion of Eagle County in the Roaring Fork Valley, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs. In 2005, residents of the Town of New Castle voted to join RFTA. RFTA is primarily funded by dedicated sales taxes levied in each of its member that were approved by voters.
RFTA has received numerous awards, including the “Best Mass Transit System of North America” by Mass Transit Magazine and the best “Large Transit Agency of the Year” from Colorado Association of Transit Agencies. In 2012, RFTA received the White House Champions of Change Transportation Innovator Award. In 2014, RFTA received the Federal Transit Administrator’s Outstanding Public Service Award and a SHIFT Sustainability Award.
RFTA is the 2nd biggest transit system in Colorado, the largest rural transit system in the U.S., and the first rural transit agency to construct and operate a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. VelociRFTA BRT began operation in September 2013. In 2014, in its first full year of operation, VelociRFTA transported 827,000 passengers.
RFTA History Timeline
2017 RFTA STATISTICS
- 5,065,569 system-wide passenger trips
- 5 million miles operated
- 325 employees during peak winter season
- Approximately $3.8 million in State/Federal capital grants and $1.2 million in Federal/State Operating assistance
- 106 buses, includes 22 compressed natural gas (CNG) BRT buses; 22 vans including 3 CNG; 41 utility vehicles
- $32.8 million Operating Budget/$21.6 million Capital Budget/$5.34 million debt service
- 70-mile service region: Aspen to Glenwood Springs (40 miles) and Glenwood Springs to Rifle (30 miles)
- Rubey Park Transit Center in Aspen, 8 BRT Stations in Highway 82 corridor, 14 park and rides, and 153 bus stops served
- Maintenance facilities and administrative offices located in Aspen, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs
- Own and co-manage the 34-mile Rio Grande Railroad Corridor and Rio Grande Trail
RFTA’s Board Membership is comprised of representatives of our membership communities. They hold public meetings monthly. For information on who our board member communities are, visit the Board Meetings page.
View RFTA’s Mission statement and what our key priorities are on the Our Mission page.