Coloradans who want to use an app to carpool with others to the mountains or for other activities will be able to do so legally starting in October.
That’s the result of a new law that requires carpooling app companies such as Treadshare and Gondola to simply register with the Colorado Department of Transportation to operate legally. Previously, these companies had been subject to the same regulations as “transportation network companies” — such as Uber and Lyft — and would have had to register with the Colorado Department of Revenue and Public Utilities Commission and pay an annual fee of $111,250 to operate.
Under the new law, HB21-1076, carpool app companies must register with CDOT starting Oct. 1.
Carpool apps such as Treadshare and Gondola allow a driver to connect with passengers going to the same destination and transport them, with the passengers helping pay the driver’s fuel and mileage costs. The apps are a useful way for Coloradans headed to the ski slopes to reduce emissions and save on parking costs, though under the right circumstances, the carpool apps could be used for concerts, sporting events, or other activities.
The law limits a carpool to no more than six passengers, not including the driver, and to no more than one round trip per day, which would have to be no less than 23 miles each way. That minimum distance requirement is waived for carpools to ski areas, an exception that could help workers at ski resorts ride together.
The new law was specifically intended to help transport people who voluntarily choose to utilize carpooling along the I-70 mountain corridor, and Coloradans interested in learning more about carpooling resources in the mountains can visit GoI70.com/carpool. However, as long as a trip is 23 miles or more each way, carpoolers could band together for any purpose, including commuting to work, going to a concert or sporting event, or to college campuses.
Coloradans who use carpool apps should understand that, aside from the registration requirement, the state does not regulate the app companies. There are no background checks or training standards required for carpool drivers, vehicles are not subject to inspection, and insurance verification is not performed. Coloradans using a carpool app should exercise caution and good judgment before getting in a car with strangers. CDOT is not liable for any act or omission by carpool app companies, drivers or passengers.
For more information, visit CDOT’s Mobility Services website at https://www.codot.gov/programs/innovativemobility/mobility-services.