The FrontRange Express, a commuter bus service between Colorado Springs and Denver that costs about $4,300 a day to operate, will continue running through 2011.

“This is welcome news for the people who use FREX for their commute between Colorado’s two largest employment markets,” the city said Wednesday in a news release.

FREX, which has been on the chopping block for the past two years, received a lifeline Dec. 14 when the Colorado Springs City Council approved funding to continue the service for at least another year.

For 2011, FREX has a net operating budget of $1.1 million. It runs about 255 days a year, so it costs about $4,313 a day to operate, said Andy Garton, transit business administrator for the city’s Mountain Metropolitan Transit.

“Our FREX service is very efficient in providing public transportation compared to other modes of public transportation, not only locally but around the country,” he said.

“Keep in mind that the number of miles that that accounts for between the Springs and Denver is fairly substantial, and the number of vehicles and carbon monoxide that it’s reducing is substantial as well,” he said. “There is a cost associated with public transportation, but there are other benefits to having the public transportation in place.”

FREX, which is operated by the city’s Transit Services Division, is funded by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, state funds, advertising and fares.

FREX ridership has been growing.

“We are running, on average, about 350 boardings per day,” Garton said.
That’s up from an average of 257 riders per day in the first quarter of 2010, according to the city.

For more information, go to or call 719-636-FREX (3739) or 877-425-FREX (3739).