From 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. every day, according to Telluride Express General Manager Sue Rovito, at least one driver will be on call to serve those needing rides as part of the new local taxi service. More drivers will be on hand during busy times of the week.
For a ride within the Town of Telluride (East Colorado Avenue to Eider Creek) or the Town of Mountain Village, the cost is $5 for one person and $2 for each additional rider. Between Telluride and Lawson Hill/Society Drive, the cost is $7 for one rider and $2 for each additional person. And the cost is $9 for rides between Telluride or Mountain Village to Ski Ranches, West Meadows, Aldasoro, or the Illium turn off. An additional $2.25 per mile will be charged to go beyond those locations.
While there are free transportation services already in place, like Dial-a-Ride in Mountain Village, the Galloping Goose and the Home Safe Program that offers free rides to those intoxicated on the weekends, Rovito said the new local taxi is a flexible alternative for those who may not fit the other transportation schedules on fixed routes.
“It is an experiment this year and we will see how it goes,” Rovito said. “We are committed to running this the whole year (until April 3), even if we lose money.”
Since the local taxi service was launched on Dec. 10, Rovito said the service has been well received and there have been times that the drivers on call have been very busy.
“We are still trying to figure out what the demand is. One night we may have had 20 people calling for rides at one time and had only three drivers on call, so there was a wait,” she said. “On other nights, it hasn’t been that busy. So far, though, it has been pretty good, and a lot of people are asking about it.”
With ever-tightening budgets in the local governments, Rovito said funding for the Home Safe Program may not be a reality in the future, and that if the local taxi receives enough ridership, it could be an alternative to the Home Safe Program, should the free program get cut.
“We don’t want people to be stranded because they don’t have fifty bucks in their pocket for a ride,” she said, adding, so far she has received a good response from visitors and residents staying in Mountain Village who don’t want to take the Gondola into town every time. “If they have kids and grandma going to dinner, the novelty of riding the Gondola can wear off, especially when it is cold.”
To call for a ride with the local taxi, passengers can call the driver directly at 970/728-6668. Depending on the need at the time, there may be a wait. For those wishing to make a reservation for a scheduled pick-up time, call the Telluride Express main number at 970/728-6000 ext. 2.
“We will see if this is something that’s needed,” Rovito said. “Only time will tell.”