Carpool Apps Now Legal in Colorado, but Companies Must Register with CDOT

September 1, 2021 - Central/Eastern Colorado

DENVER — Coloradans who want to use an app to carpool with others to the mountains or for other activities will be able to do so legally come October.

That's the result of a new law that requires carpooling app companies such as Treadshare and Gondola to simply register with the Colorado Department of Transportation to operate legally. Previously, these companies had been subject to the same regulations as "transportation network companies" — such as Uber and Lyft — and would have had to register with the Colorado Department of Revenue and Public Utilities Commission and pay an annual fee of $111,250 to operate.

Under the new law, HB21-1076, carpool app companies must register with CDOT starting Oct. 1. Companies can register here.

Carpool apps such as Treadshare and Gondola allow a driver to connect with passengers going to the same destination and transport them, with the passengers helping pay the driver's fuel and mileage costs. The apps are a useful way for Coloradans headed to the ski slopes to reduce emissions and save on parking costs, though under the right circumstances, the carpool apps could be used for concerts, sporting events or other activities.

The law limits a carpool to no more than six passengers, not including the driver, and to no more than one round trip per day, which would have to be no less than 23 miles each way. That minimum distance requirement is waived for carpools to ski areas, an exception that could help workers at ski resorts ride together.

The new law was specifically intended to help transport people who voluntarily choose to utilize carpooling along the I-70 mountain corridor, and Coloradans interested in learning more about carpooling resources in the mountains can visit GoI70.com/carpool. However, as long as a trip is 23 miles or more each way, carpoolers could band together for any purpose, including commuting to work, going to a concert or sporting event or to college campuses.

Coloradans who use carpool apps should understand that, aside from the registration requirement, the state does not regulate the app companies. There are no background checks or training standards required for carpool drivers, vehicles are not subject to inspection, and insurance verification is not performed. Coloradans using a carpool app should exercise caution and good judgment before getting in a car with strangers. CDOT is not liable for any act or omission by carpool app companies, drivers or passengers.

For more information, visit CDOT’s Mobility Services website.

Whole System. Whole Safety.

In early 2019, CDOT announced its Whole System — Whole Safety initiative to heighten safety awareness. This initiative takes a systematic statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behaviors, our built environment and the organization's operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving the safety of all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission — to get everyone home safely.

About CDOT

CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated inter-regional express service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s multimodal mobility options.