Earlier this year, we worked with the North Front Range MPO to launch a pilot program in rural Weld and Larimer counties – the program has been an outstanding success.
In September, the North Front Range MPO (NFRMPO) and Via Mobility Services were recognized by the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies (CASTA) for their work with the Outstanding Coordination Initiative award. This award recognizes partnerships with non-transit organizations and individuals to accomplish something outstanding in their community. This pilot program adds service to Southwestern Weld County and Southeastern Larimer County at no charge to riders. The pilot service is subsidized by Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5311 funds that support rural public transportation.
Since the pilot kicked off in August, the North Front Range MPO team has been hard at work promoting this new mobility option throughout the service area. Hanna Johnson, a Mobility Coordinator with NFRMPO, shared that every time she is doing outreach, “The community responds with ‘This is so needed!’ Many older adults have let me know that they rely on their neighbors, friends, and family to get rides where they need to go. Although it is heartwarming that the community takes care of one another, they are excited to have an alternative and reliable option in case their social network is not available to provide a ride.”
Currently, 47 riders from Johnstown, Gilcrest, Milliken, Lochbuie, Fort Lupton, Platteville, and other rural areas are registered for this pilot, and we continue to enroll new riders each week. So far, we’ve been able to provide over 150 trips that have helped residents access essential goods and services.
One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is that some residents think the service is too good to be true. To build confidence, we coordinated with staff at a local Senior Center to host a field trip to train new riders on using the service and show them Via’s reliability and expertise.
“I’m excited that this outreach has been met with such a positive response, and I’m hopeful that this can become a permanent addition to these communities,” Hanna shared.
“The partnerships and relationships the NFRMPO has cultivated during this time of outreach will be invaluable to the expansion of the MPO’s Mobility Program into rural portions of Weld County. Being able to show a tangible outcome immediately builds a lot of confidence in our program, and we are thankful that we’ve been able to partner with Via to increase mobility options,” said Hanna.
As Via continues to expand service offerings across the Front Range, the safety of our riders and staff remains our top priority. We continue to follow an increased cleaning regiment, and masks are still required to ride on all Via vehicles. You can learn more about Via’s pandemic response at https://viacolorado.org/covid-19/.
We’re grateful for the partnership we’ve formed with the North Front Range MPO to bring this essential service to rural communities. This pilot runs through December 31, 2021, but we hope to secure additional funding to continue this service for years to come.