Annual CASTA Award Winners Announced

Oct. 6, 2015

CASTA held its 30th Annual Colorado Transit Awards ceremony in Breckenridge, Colorado on Sept. 17.

Through this award program, CASTA annually recognizes an outstanding individual, transit professional or community transit agency acknowledged by their peers for achievement and leadership.

Local Breckenridge artist, David Gonzales created and painted the unique art pieces that CASTA gave out as the awards this year.  The paintings use Gonzales' signature powerful and purposeful brushstrokes to show transit, people and objects moving quickly through their environments.

The following winners for each category were:

2015 Transit Professional  of the Year

This year's award goes to an individual who for the past 6 years with the city of Durango, Amber Blake, Director of the Department of Transportation and Sustainability has worked to expand Durango's sustainable transportation program from a transit division to include a Transportation Demand Management program, and multi modal division as well as a nexus between those programs and the transit and parking programs. She brings an exciting energy and passion with her every day to the job, which has positively impacted the community's interest, awareness and enthusiasm about transit.

2015 Specialized  Agency of the Year

The Specialized Transit Agency of the Year goes to an agency that provides services for elderly and those with disabilities in recognition for best practices or a new project. This year the awards committee selected the Transfort Shuttle Service operating in Fort Collins. In April, 2015, Transfort launched a new shuttle service program to enhance transportation services to riders with disabilities who are unable to use the fixed route service. This shuttle service exceeds ADA standards and accommodates riders needing transportation to and from Foothills Gateway, Inc; a non-profit job center for persons with cognitive impairments.

2015 Resort Agency  of the Year

Breckenridge Free Ride Transit System was awarded the Resort Agency of the Year. In her nomination, Transit Manager Maribeth Lewis-Baker, said: "Our system operates 17.5 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. In the past 17 years, the Breck Free Ride had provided free rides to 8,232,894 passengers and 2,419,938 pounds of CO2 have been saved versus if people had used a car for the same trip.

The Town of Breckenridge also partially subsidizes the early childhood education program. Because of the financial assistance offered by the Town, the early childhood centers use the Breckenridge Free Ride for their field trips out into the community in lieu of purchasing their own buses or vans.

2015 Large Community Transit  Agency of the Year

The Large Community Transit Agency of the Year award goes to an agency that serves a community of more than 15,000 people in recognition for best practices or a new project.  This year Greeley-Evans Transit earned the award.

Greeley's Ride Free with ID program has been a game changer to the community in creating high energy and increased ridership. The program has been extremely successful on many levels, the GET ridership in the youth category has increased over 313 percent (15k rides in the 2013/14 school year and over 63k rides in the 2014/15 school year).

2015 Best Written  Customer Compliment 

CASTA has a rotating award category that changes each year.  This year agencies were asked to send in their best written customer compliment.  CASTA received 12 submissions of transit love.  The letter that the Awards committee selected was written to Steamboat Springs Transit.  The compliment came in the form of a full color card made by a citizen and had photos of families skiing and in front of "their" neighborhood bus stop.  The letter said, "We are all so happy to have a safe place to catch the bus this year.  We promise to use it as much as we possibly can."  Jonathan Flint, Transit Manager, Steamboat Springs Transit accepted the award.

2015 Small Community Transit Agency of the Year 

The Small Community Transit Agency of the Year goes to an agency that serves a community of less than 15,000 in population in recognition for best practices or a new project. We are delighted that the Town of Fraser took top honors this year. The nomination highlighted the community's new investment in transit.  

Through a creative and collaborative process, the town has built one of the most creative bus shelters we have seen in Colorado. The bus shelter was designed for the site and reflects Fraser's mountain bike spirit and character; they used over 2000 bike chains and sprockets in construction of the structure. The outcome of this project has been increased community support and momentum in revamping other transit infrastructure which is both functional and meaningful to the community.

Catherine Trotter, Krista Klancke and Tim Hodsdon accepting the award for the Town of Fraser from Ann.

2015 Transit Team of the Year 

This year there were two teams chosen for the Colorado Transit Team of the Year award. The first was given to the team that made an outstanding contribution to their agency and/or community over the past year. The winning Prowers Area Transit Management team includes:

  • Operations Director, Darren Glover
  • Dispatcher/Transit Driver, Diana Davis
  • Maintenance Manager/Transit Driver, Kevin Estes
  • Administrative Assistant/Dispatcher, Jackie Harbert
  • Assistant Maintenance Manager/Transit, Driver Gary Chamberlain
  • Transit Driver, Herb Hopkins and
  • Transit Driver/Backup Dispatcher, Janet Bennet

In their nomination the Prowers Area County Commissioners wrote: "PATS has been particularly challenged in meeting its mission to an ever increasing ridership because of its small staff and the leave that employees earn. The Operations Director and Staff worked tirelessly last year for an extended period of time to maintain excellent services when approximately 50% of the Staff was out due to illness.

The Operations Director and Head Dispatcher assumed driving duties; the agency dropped down to operating 2 vehicles (versus 4 vehicles) and still maintained their high level of service to the residents of Prowers County."

2015 Transit Team of the Year 

The second team to win the Colorado Transit Team of the Year award was: Kelley Collier, Kenny Osier and Ann Beauvais, the leadership team of the Colorado Mountain Consortium.

This team (each from different organizations) spearheaded an innovative bus procurement process which has been beneficial for multiple agencies throughout Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. Kelly worked with her county to fund this program at significant risk as this sort of procurement had never been done before. Kenny provided a tremendous amount of experience, which resulted in the procurement of the best buses out there. Ann provided full support throughout the process, including ordering, inspection and final acceptance; procurement documentation; and serving as a liaison between the transits proprieties, vendors, and CDOT/FTA as needed.

Because it was a new procurement model, it took a lot of "guts" and hard work to make this happen.

2015 Friend of Transit

This year CASTA honored John Valerio with a post-humous Friend of Transit Award.  In his nomination, Dave Peckler wrote, "John worked tirelessly to nurture intercity bus service within the Colorado. The groundwork he laid in intercity bus service was fundamental in the creation of the Bustang service of today."  In lieu of an award, CASTA made a donation in John's name to the Sierra Club.