Getting around the mountains can present a challenge even to the hardiest. Still, it can be nearly impossible for those without reliable transportation, the ability to drive, or worried about road conditions.
Public transportation, an on-again, off-again proposition in these parts, is spotty at best due to a lack of sufficient demand to fund it. Private options such as Uber and Lyft suffer from the same financial constraints, not to mention the connectivity issues required to make the services viable.
Fortunately, beginning in November this year, the Peak to Peak area has a new ride service called Mountain Rides.
The service, operated by Via, provides wheelchair-accessible rides currently centered on the Peak to Peak highway route. Rides to Black Hawk and Coal Creek Canyon are part of future expansion plans.
Mountain Rides is a shared ride service with fixed pick-up times and locations and open times to accommodate appointments.
Where are Mountain Rides available?
Mountain Rides operates along the Peak to Peak Highway from Ward to Gilpin County Rec Center. Current pick-up and drop-off locations are in Ward, Nederland, Eldora, Rollinsville, and Mid-Gilpin. Home pick-up can be scheduled as requested.
Mountain Rides provides transportation for almost any purpose, including medical and therapy trips, employment, education, shopping, personal appointments, and more.
How much does it cost?
The service is free and available to anyone. The service is made available by grants and local contributions. Children under 12 may ride with an adult, but you must bring a car seat for infants and toddlers. A $5 donation per ride is suggested to support Via’s ongoing efforts.
How do I become a rider?
Anyone interested can call a Via Mobility Specialist at 303-444-3043 or go online at www.viacolorado.org to register. Once registered, a trip can be scheduled through Via’s call center from 8 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday, or sign up for rides listed on their monthly calendar located on the website. You may schedule up to seven days in advance.
Rides are available Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm.
This new program may take some trial and error to get right. So as Via learns the best way to make the service work, the community should practice patience while details are sorted out.
They promise to do their best to adapt and adjust to the community’s needs. Betty Abel, Mountain Transportation Coordinator shares, “With time, we will see where we need to provide more service or less. We eventually plan to expand to include the communities in the north end region, adding Allenspark, Jamestown, Gold Hill areas, and Coal Creek Canyon.”
Think you want to volunteer?
Along with managing Mountain Rides, Abel plans to build a driver volunteer program that will complement the Mountain Rides service to help maximize ridership and continue addressing area transportation needs.
Via hopes to have a full schedule for drivers within a year. “The transportation options up here are one of our biggest issues. Seeing that need, the Mountain Transportation Coordinator was hired to facilitate the launch of the Via bus and start the driver volunteer program to help the Peak to Peak community take advantage of other transportation options available.”
To learn about volunteer opportunities, visit https://viacolorado.org/work-with-us/volunteer/
This is such a vital resource for those lacking great options to complete some of life’s basic tasks, so please support this effort and give a cheery honk and a wave to a Mountain Rides driver the next time you see one.