Hillary Allen, a Colorado native, has always been an athlete. She teaches Chemistry at Front Range Community College during the year and spends her summers in Europe competing in various ultra-running competitions. Her life revolves around her ability to move freely, but until last year Hillary hadn’t given the idea much thought.
In August 2017, Hillary was in Norway competing in one of her final races of the season, the Tromsø Sky Race 50km, part of the World Skyrunning Series. On a particularly challenging ridge, Hillary fell 150 feet from the trail. She sustained various injuries including two broken ribs, two broken bones in her back, two broken arms, a sprained ankle and a popped ligament in her foot.
After taking some time off to recover, she wanted to get back to work but quickly realized the challenges of navigating the public transportation system when you’re not fully ambulatory. “To me, [mobility] means something different now. In the US, a huge part of mobility is the ability to drive,” said Hillary. “Mobility is being able to navigate your community, relying on your body, and having easy access to transportation is a big part of that. We’re not organized as a culture, as communities, to be able to walk to the store. Everything is so spread out here.”
Another barrier for Hillary and many in our community is that public transportation isn’t always time efficient. “In Spain, it was easy not to have a car. You could get anywhere you needed, and there were people there to help you,” she recalled of her time living in Spain.
With no relatives in town and knowing that ride-sharing apps would cost her a fortune, she needed another solution. Hillary recalled seeing Via buses around Boulder and at the 4th of July Trailhead outside of Nederland. She wasn’t sure that she could qualify to use Via’s services, but she decided to give Via a call.
Via helped Hillary regain her independence and freedom during her time of need. “I don’t know what I would have done without Via. It was essential to get to and from work,” Hillary recalled.
Find out how Via can help you or your loved ones stay connected to our community by visiting us online at viacolorado.org/services.