By John Olson

We can now all rejoice as the long anticipated Bustang is coming! Excitement fills the air as, once again, we will have an alternative mode of transportation to get to and from Denver.

Denver has recently done amazing things with its transit system, primarily the network of the light-rail system and Union Station at the core of the improvements.

It’s all about mobility and options in Denver. Development has boomed along with it.

Imagine being a resident of Colorado Springs, paying the low Colorado Springs taxes, enjoying our much more beautiful natural setting and having a home at about half the cost of Denver — yet still being able to work in Denver without the wasted two-plus hours a day driving.

Instead, we can use that time to plug into the convenient on-bus outlet and utilize the on-bus Wi-Fi to actually get work done.

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You arrive in Denver at this world-class, beautifully restored place called Union Station, in the middle of the fast-developing downtown area. You think to yourself, “Wow, now this is how you are supposed to enter a city!”

Sounds perfect, right? Are you excited? Well, I sure am!

But wait, let’s flip the trip.

You’re now a resident of Denver, or you’re an out-of-state tourist visiting all that Denver has to offer. You like Denver for its big-city amenities and culture, but you want to experience the natural beauty of the Rockies, rich with hiking trails and natural destinations.

You become curious about this city to the south that you’ve heard bits and pieces about but have not traveled there — to Colorado Springs — because you remember seeing an article on CNN about trash in the parks, lack of transit and removal of streetlights.

But it has a cool place called Garden of the Gods and, of course, Pikes Peak.

Yeah, it’s worth the weekend trip for $12.

So you ride the bus and eventually put down the laptop because when you crest Monument Hill, the pure beauty of the Pikes Peak region unfolds before your eyes.

The Air Force Academy looks majestic, and glimpses of Garden of the Gods are in the distance. The foreground looks the same as anywhere USA with big and little boxes scattered about.

You’re getting closer to downtown Colorado Springs, and excitement increases with visible trails, parks and what appears to be a real downtown.

You think to yourself, “Wow, Colorado Springs looks pretty cool.” But wait, you’ve just passed downtown and it looks like your bus is circling in from the south for the grand entrance.

The bus stops — and you sit patiently, thinking this isn’t where we get out, is it?!

Lo and behold, yes, you are ushered off the bus, under the interstate in an area that is far from anything and frankly a little scary.

Thanks for taking the trip to Colorado Springs, the next bus back to Denver is in an hour.

Is this really what we are going to do to people?

Are we honestly going to drop people off in a non-place, more fitting for a Red Hot Chili Peppers song?

Let’s get this figured out, Colorado Springs. We must do better than this!

John Olson is a licensed landscape architect residing in Colorado Springs. He serves as director of planning and landscape architecture for EVstudio ( Planning & Civil Engineering. He also is co-founder of Colorado Springs Urban Intervention, which implemented Better Block Pikes Peak in 2012, the recent Walkability Signage found in downtown Colorado Springs and Curbside Cuisine.


  1. Colo Springs declined to continue to fund FREX bus, so Bustang is CDOT’s project. I don’t know that CS gets to direct Bustang, which is geared toward commuters, not tourists. Maybe there could be shuttles from the Park N Ride to attractions.

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