Denver is stepping up its carpooling incentives to cut down congestion in the metro area and on I-70.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and various transportation associations across the city teamed up to create Ski Pool, a pilot program beginning Dec. 1. Ski Pool gives commuters who travel 15 miles or more each way a 2014 Chevy Traverse to carpool to work and to the ski resorts on the weekends. Twenty-five cars are available—first come first served.
“If you have four or five people carpooling, that’s going to reduce traffic in Denver on a daily basis and then reduce ski traffic on I-70 on the weekends,” says Greg Anthony, business development executive for vRide, a private contractor of ridesharing cars that supplied the Chevy Traverses.
Ski Pool matches up people with similar commutes who register online at mywaytogo.org. Participants must be 18 or older and complete a driving background check. A monthly fee is based on mileage and can be an automatic payroll deduction. Anthony estimates $50/month for a commute from Denver to Boulder. Participants maintain and submit a weekly mileage log.
Anyone who signs up for the daily carpool program can also drive with at least four other Ski Pool members to Winter Park, Breckinridge, A-Basin or Keystone one day per week. DRCOG will pay for one round-trip of gas. The cars are fully insured. There is no contractual commitment but commuters are asked to give 30 days’ notice. If there is an unexpected emergency, DRCOG will pay for a taxi ride home up to 100 miles plus tip.
“You literally…ah, I get so excited, you literally get a brand-new black beautiful SUV, it’s got XM radio in it, ski racks, backup cameras, brand-new all-season tires. And you get to use it for your commute.”
Anthony, a Stapleton resident, thinks Ski Pool could be very effective in Stapleton where many people commute to similar areas. Northeast Transportation Connections, a Stapleton-based initiative to make Denver more sustainable, jumped on the opportunity to promote the program.
“We really are excited about the program,” says Director Angie Rivera-Malpiede. “I think anytime we can add a resource that will fulfill the sustainability initiative is great for everybody.”
While the program cannot be the only solution to I-70 and metro area traffic, Anthony believes it will make a more enjoyable commute. “Until we have a light rail or hot air balloon commute, this is the best we can do right now.”
To get started, talk to neighbors and friends with similar commutes, calculate potential savings in gas and car maintenance, and visit mywaytogo.org or email email@example.com.