Valley Taxi expands to national park | SkyHiNews.com

Valley Taxi expands to national park

Hank Shell
hshell@skyhidailynews.com

As transportation in Grand County comes to the forefront of public discussion, some local business owners are taking it upon themselves to bridge the gaps.

Winter Park-based Valley Taxi is expanding its Grand Lake presence with a new weekend shuttle through Rocky Mountain National Park.

The new shuttle will take hikers from Kawuneeche Visitor Center to popular trail heads on the west side of the park, and bikers will be able to hitch a ride as far as the Alpine Visitor Center before descending back into the Kawuneeche Valley said Curt Spencer, owner of Valley Taxi.

“I think there’s a real demand for what I call trailhead services,” Spencer said. “People in the park, they can park their car at the trailhead, and we can pick them up at the bottom of the trail and take them back to their car.”

Valley Taxi’s 12-passenger van can carry four bikes.

“There’s basically a 10-mile and 25-mile downhill ride out of Rocky Mountain National Park that I’ve done many times, and it’s just a hoot,” Spencer said.

Valley Taxi first pushed into Grand Lake in 2012.

Spencer said he’s seen a demand for transportation from hikers and bikers in the park, and the extra summer business will help fill gaps in what can be a very seasonal business.

The national park shuttle will an integral part of a larger transportation network coming to Grand Lake this summer.

Earlier this month, Mountain Transit Adventures announced a new scheduled bus service through Grand Lake.

Grand Lake resident Elmer Lanzi has purchased two buses and plans to carry riders around town and to destinations like Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapahoe National Forest for a small fee.

Spencer and Lanzi have been working together to coordinate MTA’s route to Rocky Mountain National Park, Spencer said.

MTA riders will reach the Kawuneeche Visitor Center just in time to catch the Valley Taxi shuttle to any number of destinations.

Shuttle users will pay $12 to reach the Colorado River Trailhead and $18 to reach the Alpine Visitor Center, and tickets are available from Grand Lake merchants.

The shuttle also services any stop in between.

Return trips are available for $5.

The national park charges an additional $10 for visitors who don’t have a park pass.

Reservations are suggested.

Grand Lake shuttle could be a model for county expansion

If all goes well with the transportation system in Grand Lake, Spencer said he and Lanzi could expand into other parts of Grand County.

“I think it’s a model that we can actually take down to Granby and into East Grand,” Spencer said. “We’d like to see our shuttles and systems pretty much year round.”

Specifically, Spencer and Lanzi see an opportunity in servicing the Amtrak stops in Winter Park, Fraser and Granby as well as the U.S. Highway 40 to U.S. Route 34 corridor.

“Once this summer season is over, we’re going to hit it hard going down 34 and 40 going east into the Fraser Valley to provide transportation throughout the winter,” Spencer said.

Spencer said he and Lanzi have already completed a transportation plan that they hope to implement.

The two are also hoping to fund their vision entirely through community support of their services, Spencer said.

“I think that there’s a need for it,” Spencer said. “I think the county sees a need for it. If we can get that transportation out there without having to use county dollars, I think that’s a bonus.”

For more information about Valley Taxi visit valleytaxiinc.com.


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