Gunnison Valley RTA: Free Bus Services & City Connections


Navigating Gunnison Valley’s Public Transit System

As you plan your next trip to Colorado’s stunning Gunnison Valley, you may be wondering how best to get around the area. With its rugged natural beauty and wealth of outdoor activities, having reliable and accessible transportation is key. Look no further than Gunnison Valley’s public transit system. Operated by the Gunnison Valley Rural Transportation Authority (RTA), the bus system connects communities across the valley and facilitates everything from daily commuting to once-in-a-lifetime adventures.


  • Gunnison Valley RTA operates bus routes across the region, enabling convenient travel
  • Services include free village-to-village shuttles and scheduled buses to key destinations
  • Fares are affordable, with discounts available, ensuring accessibility for all riders
  • Routes access recreational sites like Mt Crested Butte as well as essential locations like grocery stores
  • Future plans aim to expand RTA free bus routes to support the valley's growing communities

Navigating the Transit Network

As a first-time rider, the Gunnison Valley RTA system may seem complex at first glance. But understanding the different types of services available will soon have you riding the buses like a local. The RTA operates two main types of transit: shuttles running on flexible schedules between villages and fixed routes adhering to timed schedules.

The free village-to-village shuttles offer door-to-door service, picking up riders upon request using an on-demand model. So if you need a lift from Gothic to Mount Crested Butte, simply call the shuttle hotline and they’ll arrive at your stop shortly. Shuttles run daily, making them ideal for everything from finishing that epic hike in Gothic to bar-hopping between Crested Butte neighborhoods.

For reaching key sites on a timeline, the scheduled fixed routes are the way to go. These buses run on set timetables, traveling between popular destinations like Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Gunnison, passing through smaller communities en route. Knowing the bus schedule in advance helps you perfectly coordinate transfers and onward travel.

Detailed route maps and timetables are available online and at major bus stops, providing at-a-glance references. Using these resources, you can easily plot multi-stop RTA bus itineraries and time key activities from mountain biking to gallery-hopping. Apps like Transit also track real-time arrivals, taking the guesswork out of transit.

Accessing Recreational Sites

One major advantage of riding the RTA buses is that they provide car-free access to the valley’s world-class recreational sites. Heading to Crested Butte for epic skiing or biking? The scheduled Route 1 buses run direct from Gunnison multiple times daily, dropping you right at the mountain base area.

In summer, the same Route 1 buses detour to serve Snodgrass Trailhead. So you can catch an early bus from Gunnison, hike any number of stunning high alpine trails, then shuttle back at day’s end. Other summer-only bus service routes like the Crested Butte Shuttle are specially designed to enable hiking and biking adventures. With bike racks equipped on all vehicles, you can even opt for two-wheeled travel between trailheads or in and around CB.

Everyday Essentials

While recreation may lure you to Gunnison Valley, the RTA routes also enable hassle-free travel for everyday needs. Key routes ensure access to grocery stores, medical services, schools, and other essential locations across the valley. For instance, the Gunnison-Crested Butte Route stops at City Market, allowing you to restock camping meals or craft beer. Meanwhile, the Crested Butte Shuttle hits the hospital and medical clinics, providing care access.

Understanding the Fare System

Now that you know where you can go, you’re probably wondering what it will cost. The great news is that Gunnison Valley RTA offers affordable rates aimed at accessibility for all. Cash fares are just $1 per ride for most scheduled routes when boarding along the way. But you can save 25% by purchasing a 20-ride punch pass for $15 at major stops. Unlimited monthly passes are an even better deal at $30 for adults. Discounted rates apply for seniors, students, and riders with disabilities. And kids under 6 always ride free with a paying adult.

If you’ll be relying solely on the village-to-village shuttles, then congratulations – every shuttle ride is completely free for all. That makes adventuring between Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte, and Gothic wonderfully simple. Just don’t forget to tip your drivers occasionally for superior service.

Future Expansions Underway

While the current RTA system already provides extensive coverage, future plans aim to grow services even more. Ongoing long-range planning focuses on expanding routes to support rising populations and reach emerging destinations. Federal grants additionally help fund new vehicle purchases and infrastructure improvements at stops.

In 2023, construction starts on the new North Village Transit Center. Located in the heart of Crested Butte, this hub will enable increased frequency for key routes. Other goals include introducing weekend service from Gunnison along with later evening schedules. So in coming years, transit in Gunnison Valley will only become more robust and rider-friendly.

Navigating the System: FAQ

How do I find bus schedules and route maps?

Detailed schedules and maps are available on the RTA website and posted at all major bus stops. Real-time arrival info can also be accessed using the Transit app.

Where can I purchase bus passes and punch cards?

Passes are sold at the RTA office in Gunnison, major grocery stores, City Halls, and select bus stops. You can also buy directly from drivers, but exact change is required.

How do the free village shuttles work?

These flexible on-demand shuttles provide door-to-door service when booked via the hotline. Call to schedule a pickup or departure time that works for your itinerary.

Can I take my bike on the bus?

Yes, all scheduled fixed route buses have bike racks equipped, allowing you to bus one way and ride back. Just load your bike securely on the rack before boarding.

What COVID precautions are in place?

Enhanced daily cleaning procedures ensure vehicle sanitization. Face masks are recommended but not required at this time.

Avatar photo

About the author

Simone Weisman

My deep appreciation for nature and active living strongly aligns with the vibrant outdoor culture of Colorado. My enjoyment of yoga, hiking, and exploring scenic trails provides me with a unique perspective that I bring to This personal passion enriches my ability to connect with and inspire our audience, whether they’re local residents or visitors seeking to explore all that Colorado has to offer.