Below are some frequently asked questions about MAX. Click on a question to reveal the answer. If you have a specific question not answered here, please feel free to contact us.
We also put together a fun sheet to give you quick highlights of popular facts about MAX.
View MAX by the Numbers (PDF 3.4MB)
How is this project funded?
By pursuing many different funding sources for construction of the MAX Bus Rapid Transit system, our community is leveraging limited local dollars with State and Federal grants. No one group will bear the project's full cost of $87 million. The City received 80percent of project funding from the Federal Transit Administration. The City of Fort Collins, Downtown Development Authority, CSU/Colorado State University Research Foundation, and Colorado Department of Transportation is covering the remaining 20 percent of costs.
The City's contribution to the MAX BRT project is approximately $4 to 5 million, similar to the cost of rebuilding an arterial intersection. Essentially, for the price of one intersection, Fort Collins' investment will leverage enough resources to build a 5+ mile corridor that will continue to generate on-going revenue for our community for many generations.
What will happen during construction?
Major construction on this project began in August 2012. The MAX BRT guideway contractor, Concrete Express, will be working on the entire corridor simultaneously in an effort to expedite construction and decrease the duration of traffic impacts to the public. MAX will open for operations in spring 2014.
Download a printable overview of construction schedule, location of activities and impacts of construction (PDF 4.0MB).
How do I cope with construction?
We are focused on minimizing inconvenience to nearby residents, businesses and the travelling public. During construction, full road closures will be limited; lane reductions will assure that vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic can access nearby businesses; work will be expedited to decrease the duration of the impacts and traffic detours will be clearly identified.
How can I stay updated?
- Construction schedule and traffic information will be distributed to those closest to the current impact.
- Sign up for construction alerts or request a presentation for your organization on this website.
- Watch for construction updates in the local media.
- Call our project hotline for a current construction schedule or to leave a message, 970-416-2617.
- Visit fcgov.com/maxconstruction for ongoing progress updates.
When will MAX service begin?
MAX operators will begin training and systems testing in early 2014, with service beginning by May 2014.
What exactly is Bus Rapid Transit?
BRT, or Bus Rapid Transit, combines many features of rail transit with the flexibility of buses. BRT is the most cost-effective technology for the Mason Corridor based on Fort Collins’ current population and ridership estimates. Some people refer to BRT as “rubber-tired light rail” because it operates more like light-rail than a traditional bus.
How fast will MAX BRT really be?
MAX is designed to emphasize speed and convenience. With a dedicated guideway for nearly three-quarters of the Corridor and priority at traffic signals, MAX will operate faster than auto travel along College Avenue. Passengers will pre-pay fares at electronic ticket vending machines, too, so there will be no delays at boarding time. You'll never have to wait long for the next ride - MAX will serve stations every ten minutes.
Will the buses accommodate wheelchairs, bicycles, strollers and shopping carts?
MAX buses can carry three or more bicycles inside of the vehicle - no more rack on the front, just roll that bike onboard! Safety will dictate the maximum number of bikes permitted. Personal shopping carts and strollers will also be allowed on the buses. MAX buses will also feature a 'Passive restraint system' design for wheelchair and mobility device users. Users simply wheel into place without operator assistance, greatly speeding up boarding time.
How many Rapid Transit buses will be purchased?
Six BRT vehicles will be purchased from North American Bus Industries (NABI). These 60-foot long vehicles are articulated (they have an "accordion" in the middle) and will be fueled by compressed natural gas.
What are the planned operating hours for MAX?
MAX will run from 5 a.m. until midnight initially, Monday through Saturday (no service on Sundays). Service may be extended as funding becomes available and if it is deemed necessary.
Will trains delay MAX?
Currently the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) has approximately 8 to 12 trains per 24 hour period traveling through Fort Collins. The number of trains during Transfort operating hours is anticipated to be 4 to 8 depending on the day. There is no set schedule for when the trains travel through our community, which makes it difficult to anticipate their arrival. This is why Transfort is implementing a notification system for MAX that will provide Transfort dispatch with the anticipated arrival time on the north and south ends of the Mason Corridor. Transfort’s dispatch team is in direct communication with all Transfort buses and will be able to hold and progress buses in order to minimize impacts to the schedule. This does not mean that there will not be disruptions to service, but it will reduce the impact and the amount of time to return to the scheduled service. Delays are anticipated in the range of 5 to 15 minutes per train.
Can I see where stations will be located and how MAX will travel along Mason Corridor?
When will the Spring Creek Station pedestrian overpass open?
The Spring Creek Overpass is and elevated pedestrian crossing located at the MAX BRT Spring Creek station. The overpass will provide a safe connection to shopping and employment centers as well as neighborhoods. Construction of the overpass will occur over the summer and fall of 2013.
Will this project enhance wheelchair accessibility across the railroad tracks?
MAX stations will provide pedestrian and wheelchair access throughout the corridor. In two key areas where street intersections are not present to provide east-west access to MAX and the Mason Trail, new grade-separated crossings will help travelers move safely across the railroad tracks; one will be an overpass near the Spring Creek Station, the other is an underpass near the Troutman Station. Learn more about these crossings at fcgov.com/max/construction-information.php.
How many Park-n-Ride spaces will stations offer?
Parking is planned at the following locations*:
South Transit Center - 175 spaces
Troutman – 20 public on-street spaces
Horsetooth – 20 spaces
Swallow – 30 spaces
Drake – 75 spaces
Downtown – City parking garages, 125 spaces
*final space counts are still under development/review - some spaces will be shared with retail or other establishments.
How long will it take MAX to travel the full corridor - from Downtown to Harmony Road?
Approximately 20 minutes.
How much will it cost to ride MAX?
MAX fares will be the same as Transfort's. Right now, a single fare ticket to ride Transfort, with one transfer, costs $1.25. All Transfort passes will be accepted on MAX. Many different passes will be available to our riders. Riders will purchase tickets prior to boarding at the station's ticket kiosk, or at one of Transfort's three Transit Centers. We'll have more information on exact fares for Transfort and MAX in early 2014. Learn more about Transfort's fares and passes here: fcgov.com/transfort/fares.php.
MAX as Part of the Transfort System
How is Transfort planning to integrate the rest of its system with MAX?
Transfort's Strategic Operating Plan (TSOP) was recently adopted. Development of this plan included extensive public outreach. The TSOP process included a collaborative partnership between the City of Fort Collins-Transfort, the City of Loveland-COLT, and the Poudre School District.
The TSOP update presents a framework for implementation of future transit improvements in three phases. Phase 1 recommends modest transit growth over existing service. It assumes the implementation of MAX service and the refinement of local routes to coordinate with MAX. Phase 2 recommends significant expansion of transit service in Fort Collins, as well as expansion of regional connections to Denver. Partnering strategies between participating jurisdictions would likely be considered for implementation of regional services. This phase assumes the continued refinement of local routes to coordinate with MAX. Phase 2 introduces a transition to a grid network in Fort Collins and provides greater route coverage, higher service frequencies, and longer span of service. Phase 3 recommends additional transit growth in Fort Collins including longer service hours and limited Sunday transit service, as well as expansion of regional service to Denver, Boulder, Berthoud, and Longmont. Partnering strategies would likely be considered for implementation of regional services. This phase assumes the implementation of additional MAX services that extend outside of the Mason Corridor and completes the transition to a full grid network in Fort Collins.
Implementation time line of the TSOP is undetermined, but it should be expected that it will take many years to reach Phase 3. MAX includes a one-time capital expense. Bus route improvements include long term increases in operating costs, for which funding must be identified. Funding is dependent on availability and allocations made through the City of Fort Collins budgeting process that occurs every two years.
Transfort anticipates completing Phase 1 in 2013 - 2014.
With the new South Transit Center, what happens to the existing transfer point at the Mall?
Transfort will examine future uses of the current Mall Transfer Point in its Strategic Operating Plan.
What service will be provided to the new Front Range Village on Harmony?
Harmony Road is an enhanced transportation corridor. People can continue to travel by bus along Harmony.
Regional Transit Planning
Regional connections (including rail) have been proposed in Northern Colorado. What is the likely time frame for implementation and what type of project is most likely to occur?
The current Environmental Impact Statement examining connections between Northern Colorado communities and Denver includes two choices: (A) Commuter rail along existing tracks following US 287 and (B) BRT commencing at I-25 and the Harmony Corridor. Rail is expensive and would require a phased approach. Federal funding has not been identified for this connection, and the project is in early phases.
Federal representatives are currently reviewing cost effective strategies. The project includes important considerations as the population in Northern Colorado will continue to grow significantly over the next 20 to 30 years. The rail option (A) could be linked to the Mason Corridor at the South Transit Center, and the Bus Rapid Transit option (B) could be linked at the existing Harmony Transit Center.
MAX & Mason Corridor
What is the Mason Corridor?
The Mason Corridor is a five-mile, north-south byway that extends from Cherry Street in Downtown to south of Harmony Road. It combines a bicycle and pedestrian trail with the new MAX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. The Corridor will provide a framework for economic development and environmental sustainability, which will create opportunities for new mixed-use and transit oriented developments that avoid sprawl and enhance our community's active lifestyle.
Will I still be able to drive on Mason Street?
The Mason Corridor will continue to allow auto traffic on Mason Street and McClelland Drive just as it does today.
How will the Mason Corridor accommodate MAX BRT, bicycle/pedestrian, and vehicular traffic when a train is present?
Downtown and between Horsetooth and Drake Roads, MAX buses and cars will travel together along Mason Street and McClelland Drive respectively. Through CSU, from Prospect to Drake Road and from Horsetooth to south of Harmony Road, MAX buses will travel in a designated guideway on the east side of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad's tracks. The Mason Trail is available for pedestrians and bicyclists on the west side of the BSNF right-of-way. Maps are available on the Resource Library page.