The following Statement is from the Saguache Chamber of Commerce –
‘The Western San Luis Valley Transit Committee (West SLV), is seeking input from West SLV residents like you. West SLV is hoping to begin bus services to communities along the western side of the San Luis Valley. Your input will help us determine the best way to bring this service to you. Please share this survey link with all your friends and family so we can get as much input as possible! Thank you!
Carita Ginn, Secretary
Saguache Chamber of Commerce
Regional bus service will increase access to heath care, employment, personal and professional development opportunities, post-secondary education, national/international travel, networking, dispersed family and friends, and much more for residents of Saguache County. It can drive tourism by increasing traffic into Saguache County and improving access to local business.
If regional bus service is started, we should collect data to determine what the impact is to the economy, and what costs the county incurs. We can potentially use regional buses as a point of distribution, and bus stops as a point of sale, providing coupons and discounts to local businesses, local events, etc.
- Letting travelers ‘check in’ on social media and providing some scenery for photos can increase social media access to local businesses and enshrine them as ‘destination stops’.
- Many communities schedule farmers markets and food truck hours around the regional bus or train schedule – we could too.
- I strongly support initiatives that improve access beyond the San Luis Valley and that increase revenue into the Valley through tourism.
Beyond regional transportation, more must be done to improve Veteran access to Regional Medical Centers and to Compensation and Pension Exams. Nationwide, veterans represent 1% of the population. In Saguache County it’s 10%. Most Saguache County Veterans access healthcare in Salida or Alamosa through the VA Choice program. Periodically Vets are required to go to a Regional Medical Center for an exam, hearing, or meeting. Difficulty getting to these appointments is one of the primary barriers to receiving earned benefits and maintaining continuity of health care.
I’ve spoke with representatives of several veterans groups, the Saguache County VSO, advocates in Alamosa, and I’ve reached out to the VA travel coordinators from Grand Junction, Chaffee County and Denver. Bus travel is encouraging, but it’s a long trip and traveling to an appointment could require an overnight stay. I’d like to explore regional air as an option for vets going to Denver. The cost is similar to the cost of driving, but the travel time is reduced considerably.