DENVER — A new shuttle service launched in Denver Friday morning. The company Chariot will begin driving shuttles between 17 different stops in downtown, Capitol Hill and Cherry Creek.
The city is paying $250,000 for the first six months for a pilot program. Riders can take the shuttles for free during this time, after that it will cost $2.50 per ride. The goal is to encourage people to take this form of shared transit instead of their own cars.
"The first and last mile is critical," said Mayor Michael Hancock, while announcing the pilot program on Thursday. "If people feel that's a barrier, people will stay in cars," he said.
The first and last mile problem refers to the idea that people are discouraged from using public transit because it doesn't cover their trip from home to a bus or train station, or from the station to their final destination.
In recent years, a number of services have attempted to fill that gap in Denver — from ride share apps like Uber and Lyft, to dockless scooter companies like Lime, Bird and Razor.
Chariot calls itself "micro-transit," and fits somewhere between mass transit and single passenger transit. Like Uber or Lyft, riders use an app to book a ride. But the pick-up and drop-off locations are predetermined. Denver's program will feature stops in some of the city's more congested neighborhoods. Each van fits 14 passengers.
Three shuttles will run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and one of the shuttles will be able to accommodate people with disabilities.
To use the service, you’ll need to download the Chariot app and reserve a seat on the next available shuttle.
Denver's Mobility Action Plan has a goal of reducing single occupant vehicle commuters to 50 percent of current levels by the year 2030.