Longmont will give a reduced contribution to the Fort Collins-based FLEX bus service, which provides needed transportation for residents who don’t have their own vehicles and for workers who need to get to jobs along key employment corridors.
City council Tuesday unanimously agreed to chip in $152,508 to continue FLEX service along U.S. 287 and Colo 119 this year. Fort Collins lowered Longmont’s contribution from a previously agreed upon $169,263 since service was suspended on the FLEX route in early 2020 because of COVID, according to a city staff report to the council.
Longmont has been part of a coalition of cities along the FLEX corridor supporting the bus service since its inception in 2009. All help pay a share of the operational costs of this “popular bus service,” the staff report states.
“The City of Longmont has been part of this intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) since the beginning of the FLEX and remains a proud partner of this transit service,” Phil Greenwald, the city’s transportation planning manager, said in the city report.
Fort Collins and Loveland originally secured a two-year Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality grant to fund FLEX from Fort Collins to Longmont though Berthoud and Loveland, the report states. When the grant expired in 2012, the cities along the FLEX route agreed to increase their payments to replace the original grant, the report states.
A second grant extended the bus service to the city of Boulder and the University of Colorado expired in 2018. Both grants proved there was strong interest for the FLEX service along the growing corridor between Fort Collins and Boulder, the report states.
The grants also brought more partners to the table to help pay for FLEX operations once the grants expired, Greenwald said.
COVID-19 has significantly reduced ridership along the FLEX corridor and a performance report is not available this year, the city report said.
City staff recommended continued support of the FLEX service, Greenwald said. “...As it continues to provide transportation to people without access to private vehicles, and to those workers still needing to access critical jobs throughout the corridor,” he said.