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Negotiations to provide transit to Purple Cliffs stalled through the holidays

City has sought services from two organizations
City officials are negotiating transit services for people living at Purple Cliffs. About two dozen people are sleeping at the sanctioned sleeping site along La Posta Road (County Road 213), south of downtown Durango.

Unusual work schedules during the upcoming holidays may stall plans to provide transportation to people living homeless at Purple Cliffs south of downtown Durango.

Southwest Center for Independence and the city of Durango are considering a contract to offer three rides a day to people living homeless near La Posta Road (County Road 213) beginning Jan. 11, officials at both organizations said.

Road Runner Transit has offered to help the city with transportation in the interim, but Division Director Matt Nesbitt said holiday scheduling has made it hard to schedule drivers on such short notice. The company contracts with the city to provide routes from the Durango Transit Center to Mercy Regional Medical Center and the Durango Tech Center.

“I’d like to figure something out and jump in next week,” Nesbitt said in an interview Wednesday. “Now that we’re figuring out who can be available, it’s probably going to be the week after (next).”

The Southwest Center for Independence offers transportation for people with disabilities through its Southwest Rides program. The nonprofit has two buses and may get a third as part of an agreement with the city, said Martha Mason, executive director.

Southwest Rides is a nonprofit run through the Southwest Center for Independence. The service provides door-to-door transportation for those who qualify. The nonprofit has two vehicles and could get a third from the city of Durango for transporting people living homeless at the Purple Cliffs to services in town.

The city and Southwest Center for Independence are considering trips from the Purple Cliffs to the Durango Transit Center, then to Manna soup kitchen and the La Plata County Human Services office in the Durango Tech Center, Mason said. Buses to Purple Cliffs could operate each day, offering rides at 8 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis, she said.

“At this point, we’re talking with the city about them donating one of their old buses to us, an eight-passenger vehicle with room for two wheelchairs,” she said.


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