Lone Tree residents and workers have a new option to get where they need to go without driving, as city officials and a representative of the ride-share app Uber announced a one-of-a-kind partnership outside the Lone Tree Municipal Building on Aug. …
Lone Tree residents and workers have a new option to get where they need to go without driving, as city officials and a representative of the ride-share app Uber announced a one-of-a-kind partnership outside the Lone Tree Municipal Building on Aug. 16.
“We're excited to have this opportunity,” said Jeff Holwell, Lone Tree's economic development director. “The Lone Tree Link is a great service, but we wanted to take advantage of technology to make it better and more available.”
Link on Demand, a free call and ride service utilizing the Uber app, had its soft launch more than two weeks ago with employees of the city, Sky Ridge Medical Center and Charles Schwab before debuting to the public at the news conference.
The pilot is an extension of the Lone Tree Link, a free shuttle service operating weekdays that takes commuters from RTD's Lincoln Station to Charles Schwab, Sky Ridge and other employers in the city. Holwell said 81,000 commuters used the Link in 2016.
Link on Demand users can order a ride on a Link shuttle anywhere within city limits between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The city will dedicate one currently unused shuttle for the pilot program through Dec. 31, though an additional bus or two could be added based on public response.
The commuter link system that was in place used four shuttle buses. Holwell said one of those four was re-allocated for Link on Demand and the budget for the service is unaffected by the new program.
“This is a pilot that can really test if our technology can help cities utilize underused resources and make those resources more efficient,” said Joe Sanfilippo, senior operations manager for Uber Denver.
Sanfilippo said the company has partnered with other municipalities, but this is the first time city-owned vehicles will be connected to the Uber server.
Anyone with the Uber app can order a ride by entering an origin and destination address and selecting the “More” option, followed by the “Link on Demand” button. The app is free to download.
Public feedback will determine whether the program is expanded to include longer hours or weekend availability, or if it needs to be re-evaluated. Holwell encouraged riders to fill out a survey on lonetreelink.com.
At the ceremony, Mayor Jackie Millet said the new partnership should help the city meet its goal of reducing traffic congestion and innovating “first-and-last mile” commuting solutions for employees coming from the light rail station to their work or retail destinations.
She added it will be a ready option for adults who are unable or choose not to drive, as well as children too young to drive.
“Who knew (it would be) this ubiquitous app that's on my 18-year-old daughter's phone and my 78-year-old mother's phone,” Millet said.