What You Missed: Carpooling App Takes On Colorado Ski Traffic

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The entrepreneur behind a new carpooling app believes his technology will provide a solution to traffic jams that occur along Colorado’s I-70 corridor during ski season. The highway offers access from the Denver metro area to many of the state’s most popular ski areas and is notorious for its extreme (and sometimes treacherous) overcrowding on powder days.

French expat Erwin Germain created the new app, Treadshare, to mimic similar ones he’s used to find carpooling options in Europe. The app vets and then matches drivers and riders heading between various destinations along the route for fixed fees. Rides are intentionally priced low (just below the Internal Revenue Service standard for business driving, at 56 cents per mile), with 16 percent of each fare going back to the company for processing and other expenses.

It’s just the latest proposed solution to the congestion caused by Colorado’s notorious ski traffic—and maybe the most affordable yet. But even carpoolers run the risk of getting ensnared in the terrible traffic heading up the mountain. 

Resorts and government entities have tried a variety of approaches to the commuting conundrum, too, from opening up extra toll lanes, to raising parking fees to encourage skiers and boarders to use other methods of transit. The problem with the latter approach is that public-transit options are slim and expensive: tickets for the Winter Park Express train between Denver and Winter Park Resort, created in partnership with Amtrak, start at $29, and the Snowstang bus, with service to four mountains, starts at $25 (and also gets stuck in traffic).

Treadshare seems promising—it has already been downloaded more than 700 times since its late-November launch. But in concept, the app is just another way for Colorado to put off investing in the solution everyone who’s been stuck in a five-hour ski-traffic jam has prayed for: reliable, high-speed, affordable public transportation.

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