(Gallery: Connor Shreve/KOA News Radio)
The city of Denver and its transit partners are launching a small-scale, on-demand public transit service aimed at easing holiday traffic and serving retail and service workers in the Cherry Creek, Capitol Hill and Civic Center neighborhoods.
"No city has grown like Denver in the last 10 years," Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said. "With that, we have to become much more multi-modal in this city. That means we have to try different opportunities like Chariot."
Beginning Friday morning, the Chariot City Shuttle will offer service three days a week on one route through Cherry Creek, Capital Hill and Civic Center. Riders will need to use the Chariot app to reserve a seat on the 14-passenger van of their choice.
During the six-month pilot, the service will be free for riders.
Public Works will gather data during the six month pilot period to track whether the service can fulfill a 'first mile-last mile' connection for people who live in Capitol Hill and work in Cherry Creek.
"First/last mile is critical," Hancock said. If people feel like that's a barrier, they are going to stay in their cars. So we have to close those gaps we have in central Denver like from downtown to Cherry Creek, from Capitol Hill to Downtown, Capital Hill to Cherry Creek. Those are critical pieces for us to alleviate the congestion, critical gaps we have to close."
"They're looking for drivers, so we're excited about that," Hancock said after his first ride in a Chariot City Shuttle. We talked a lot about their movement toward more sustainable vehicles. We're excited about that because it's an opportunity for us to partner on that, which is very important to us with regards to our sustainability efforts in Denver as well."