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Fixing I-70's Ski Traffic Nightmare
How a new app called "TreadShare" hopes to save you gas money, reduce traffic, and build a carpool community:
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I-70 ski traffic is as brutal as it is inescapable. With few exceptions, getting to the slopes from Denver requires you to take this highway. What’s worse: Colorado’s population is growing faster than the state can add lanes and infrastructure.
Thanks to a sharp increase in gas prices, these trips are also getting more expensive.
These are all problems TreadShare hopes to alleviate.
All Together, Separately
When TreadShare Co-Founder Erwin Germain moved to Colorado in 2015, he found himself tied up in mountain traffic. He realized he was stuck alone in his car, surrounded by other drivers alone in their cars, all heading to the same place.
If you’re headed to the mountains: the app allows you to post your trip and link up with passengers, in theory reducing the number of cars headed west. Those passengers pay a rate set by TreadShare. This is typically between $0.16-0.20 per mile.
“It’s the same price, pretty much as a subsidized bus on the route,” Germain explained. “For example, a round trip from Denver downtown to A-Basin would be $25 per passenger, which is the same price as a Snowstang bus.”
Unlike ridesharing platforms such as Uber and Lyft, TreadShare is not designed to be a commercial revenue source. “It’s really to help drivers cover the cost of driving their own vehicle,” Germain said. To make this effective:
Prices are set below the IRS mileage reimbursement rate — $0.56 per mile
Trips must be at least 23 miles
The distance minimum is waived for trips that begin or end at a ski area
“The goal is also to build a carpooling community. It’s a way to meet likeminded people, especially when you like the outdoors and are going from the front range to the mountains,” Germain said.
Keeping Passengers Safe
To address safety concerns: TreadShare verifies license and insurance information for all drivers. Background checks are optional, but drivers who do agree to this process get a kind of verified status, and passengers have the option to only ride with vetted drivers.
If a passenger is left stranded, drivers are responsible for up to $100 per passenger, to arrange for alternate transportation.
How TreadShare’s First Season is Shaping Up
Right now: the company reports more than 2,000 users signed up. While ski traffic is a big component for the app: it’s not exclusively for the winter season. Its creators hope it will also become a tool for those looking to carpool on other long trips to enjoy the outdoors.
If you’re interested, you can check out TreadShare for yourself, here.
For those interested in taking cars off I-70 through other means: these are some mass-transportation options to consider.
The Winter Park Express — Winter Park
Snowstang — Copper Mountain, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland Ski Area, Steamboat Springs
However, all of these alternatives depart from Denver and only service specific mountains. Something to keep in mind when planning your next trip.