During its first year of service in 1979, the tiny organization called Special Transit was located in two rooms in the old County Butler building on Pearl Street in Boulder, where the Kinkos/FedEx store is now located. When the roof blew off, the handful of part-time office employees and drivers had to relocate. Another temporary location was found, and the vehicle maintenance program began in the dirt driveway outside, with one little coat closet to store tires.
This nonprofit now known as Via was born in a time of inspiration and dreams. The visionary advocates who worked diligently to found the organization had a belief in an inclusive community for all, regardless of age or disability. And by manifesting their vision, others would be enabled to achieve their own dreams.
That early aspiration had a profound influence on the organization. Our beliefs and values arose from that hope, as did the way we provide service – with kindness, care, and the willingness to change to meet community needs.
Today Via has more than 260 employees, more than 150 vehicles, and we provide a wide range of transportation and mobility options in Boulder County and beyond. As a nonprofit, Via has championed the social enterprise business model in the county by employing earned income contracts to achieve our vision, mission and purpose. These transportation service contracts with the city of Boulder and RTD (including the HOP, Call-n-ride and Access-a-Ride programs) have increased our growth and expanded our ability to serve people living with mobility limitations – those we were founded to serve.
Via has become the leader in mobility options in the county, serving as a one-call resource for individuals and their families dealing with mobility challenges. We continually innovate and create new ways to help people meet these challenges. We are committed to coordination and partnering with other providers to ensure the best use of all transportation resources, minimizing duplication of service and helping people find the best option to meet their individual needs.
Via has a long-term purpose. We envision a future where all people, regardless of age, income, disability or health condition have access to the mobility options they need to enhance their independence and quality of life. This vision requires a long journey, and we still have far to travel. The first 35 years have set us on a path to that future; now it is up to all of us to help create it.
While Via has changed markedly, what continues are the dreams, beliefs and values the organization was founded upon and that will be stewarded throughout the life of the organization. Compassion, a commitment to service, a willingness to change, integrity in all we do – these we carry on.
Lenna Kottke, Executive Director