DENVER — If you've ever driven in Cherry Creek, you know what a nightmare the traffic and parking can be, but now a new startup is offering an eco-friendly solution.
It's called Eco-Rides USA and offers free rides on six-seat electric shuttles.
"We don't take any money. There's no fare," said Mike Sweeny, the founder of Eco-Rides USA.
All riders have to do is flag down one of its shuttles or request a ride on the company's website.
"We give free rides to the public from 6th Ave. to Cherry Creek North Drive from University to Colorado Blvd., 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week," said Sweeney.
"The fact that it's free is definitely a plus," said Ashlee Galvan, an Eco-Rides USA rider.
Sweeney said after a year of people calling him crazy, Cherry Creek gave the startup its first break.
"We had twelve months of 'no's,' and 'you're crazy,' and 'this will never be supported.' The Cherry Creek Business Improvement District gave us our first 'yes,'" explained Sweeny.
Four months later, he said the shuttle service is taking off.
"It's been unbelievable. We're doing well over a hundred rides a day," said Sweeny.
Eco-Rides USA is able to give free rides because the shuttles are paid for through local advertising dollars.
"Inside every cart, there are ten-inch HD monitors that have the advertising rolling," he said.
Sweeny said they want to be a solution to the traffic nightmare that is Cherry Creek.
"Try to take cars off the road, try to help with some of the problems with the booming economy with this city growing so fast," he explained.
Most of its rides are short trips from point A to point B, but Sweeny said those rides add up and they can do 250 to 300 rides on the weekend.
Eco-Rides USA hopes to expand to other busy neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, but for now, the free, green shuttle service is focused on making jammed-packed Cherry Creek a little less of a hassle.
"We wanted to be a solution to some of the congestion, mass amounts of traffic," said Sweeny.