Winter Park area welcomes new Uber driver |

Winter Park area welcomes new Uber driver

The lack of easily accessible public transportation is a recurring point of contention in Grand County. There are a few options in the area such as Valley Taxi and Home James as well as Winter Park Resorts famous ski busses but for most visitors to the area getting home on a weekend evening, especially if you have imbibed any alcoholic beverages, can be a challenge.

As the winter ski season kicks into high gear, and the need for weekend and evening transportation services grows, a new Uber driver is ready to meet the demand in the Winter Park area.

Lauren, LP, Panasewicz recently signed on with the ride sharing service known as Uber and will be working as a contract driver in southeastern Grand County. Lauren will be available as a driver through the Uber phone app at select times with a focus on weekends and evenings. Originally from Boulder Panasewicz lived in Alaska for a time before moving back to Colorado to be closer to her family.

She has lived in Grand County for about one year now and works full time for the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD). “I’m definitely a small town person,” said Panasewicz. “I like to live in the mountains and I love winter.” She made the decision to become a driver for Uber this fall, after familiarizing herself with the service as a customer in the Denver area. Panasewicz will focus her attention on the Winter Park and Fraser area. “I’m happy to drive as far as Granby,” she said.

Early this year, in January, the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce began contacting the Uber Corporation hoping to create additional public transportation options in Grand County. An additional Uber driver signed up with the service in the spring and operated throughout the early summer. To help facilitate the development of the Uber service in the area the Chamber created the Grand County Uber Facebook page.

Uber is a taxi-esque transportation service wherein contract drivers receive requests for rides via the Uber phone app. Uber drivers must pass criminal and driving background checks and must also pass a basic physical with a local doctor. Drivers must also possess a valid drivers license and insurance. Uber also has various requirements for the driver’s vehicle.

Uber utilizes a smart phone based application for all customer requests for rides. All ride requests must be made through the smart phone app. Customers cannot contact drivers directly for rides with Uber.

After users download the Uber app they can look for any drivers in their area that are online. If a driver is online customers can request rides, which the drives can accept or deny via the app. After drivers accept a ride request pickup location directions are sent to the driver who then picks up the customers and takes them to their desired location.

Panasewicz said she is already operational within the Uber app system and was online last weekend. “I had one hit last weekend,” she said. “But I think it will catch on.

If you are interested in utilizing the Uber commercial ride sharing system you will first need to download the company’s app to your smart phone. If you have questions about Grand County’s Uber network you can find more information by going to the Grand County Uber Facebook page.

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