Last week, the popular transportation app, Lyft, announced an expansion to the Colorado high country. Although a step behind its competitor, Uber, which has served some Colorado mountain towns since December 2015, tourists and locals now have another option when traveling to and around ski towns like Aspen, Vail, Winter Park, Telluride, and Steamboat Springs.
“There’s nothing more important in Colorado than mountain sports, so we wanted to make sure we were relevant,” says Gabe Cohen, general manager for Lyft’s Colorado region. “We wanted to respond to the enthusiasm we see, both from those who live in the Front Range and from those who live in the mountains.”
The San Francisco-based company, which launched in Denver in September 2013, has seen success in metropolitan areas. Now, they’re focused on expanding the service to support users in more rural areas. Colorado ski towns’ small populations (Winter Park, for example, topped out at an estimated 1,029 full-time residents in 2016) could make it difficult to recruit and retain enough drivers to meet demand during high-peak times like Christmas and Spring Break. But Cohen says word-of-mouth and recruitment events are drumming up interest. “All of the communities have been very welcoming,” he says. “In every town that we launch in, we try to develop good relationships beforehand. Right now, we have bonuses for anyone who signs up to drive.”
For users, the expansion means riders can not only request a Lyft from within these towns, but they can also hail a ride from the Front Range (including Denver International Airport) to the mountains. Cohen advises users seeking transport from the Front Range to the mountains to first request a ride, then call the driver before pickup to ask if they are comfortable making the trek up I-70. “Riders can definitely get a ride from Denver to, say, Vail. Just make sure that your driver is willing to make the drive before you get in the car,” Cohen says.
Lyft is now servicing these mountain towns:
- Beaver Creek
- Central City
- Glenwood Springs
- Idaho Springs
- Winter Park