Gunnison's Safe Ride

Phone Number

To obtain a ride from Safe Ride please call (970) 209-RIDE or (970) 209-7433.

Hours of Operation

Wednesday: 7pm - 2am
Friday & Saturday: 7pm - 2am

Our Mission

Safe Ride of Gunnison aims to encourage the responsible use of alcohol and safer roads by providing "no questions asked rides" and by promoting alcohol education and awareness programs to the Gunnison Community.

Safe Ride’s stated objectives are:

  • To offer a free taxi service in and around the city of Gunnison, Colorado, primarily for the use of college students, community members, and visitors who have been drinking alcohol
  • To offer service as frequently as is feasible given the amount of financial support received from the city of Gunnison, Western State College, and the Gunnison community. Safe Ride actively seeks input from Western State College and members of the Gunnison community in planning its nights and level of operation.

Our History

Safe Ride of Gunnison County, Inc. (d.b.a. Safe Ride) was founded in 1994 in response to a fatal, alcohol-related automobile collision involving two Western State College (WSC) students.

Safe Ride began as a free taxi service offering service with one 15-passenger van on Friday and Saturday nights. The first van was rented to us by Alpine Express, a local shuttle service to and from Crested Butte Mountain Resort. In 1999, Safe Ride replaced the rental van with a new Chevy Express Van, thanks in part to a United States Department of Justice Block Grant and John Roberts Motor Works, a local Chevrolet dealer. In 2002 Safe Ride received a loan and purchased a used 15-passenger van and now offers service with two vans on Friday and Saturday nights and service with one van on Wednesday nights. Safe Ride is available to provide service for special events in the City of Gunnison and in surrounding communities such as Almont and Crested Butte. Safe Ride also offers service on holidays as are deemed necessary by Safe Ride’s Board of Directors.

Safe Ride is cooperatively operated by members of the Gunnison Police Department and Western State College staff. Officer Rob Whiting manages Safe Ride’s finances, coordinates the maintenance of the vehicles with both the city’s shop and private automotive businesses, and serves as the Director and Chairman of the Board. Gary Pierson, Associate V.P. of Student Affairs for WSC, coordinates the driver’s schedule and serves as the contact person for holiday/special event service.

Safe Ride receives funding through several governmental agencies including the County of Gunnison, the City of Gunnison, County Court deferrals on all convictions for Driving while Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI), and Municipal Court surcharges from convictions for alcohol-related disorderly conduct offenses. Safe Ride also receives important funding from local businesses and from the Student Government Association (SGA) of Western State College.

In its first year of operation Safe Ride provided over 8,000 free rides to local college students, community members, and visitors. During that time, DUI arrests in Gunnison decreased by over 50%. In 1997 Safe Ride received the State of Colorado Local Hero Award from the Governor’s DUI Task Force, recognizing it as an outstanding program in impaired driving prevention.

We currently provide more then 10,000 free rides per year in the Gunnison area as we work toward preventing impaired driving in our community.

Uniqueness of the Safe Ride Program

The most unique part of the Safe Ride program is the setting in which it has become so successful. Gunnison, Colorado is a small, rural town of about 6,000 residents. Gunnison is also home to Western State Colorado University, a public institution of about 2,400 students that is the highest elevation four-year college campus in the United States.

Though Gunnison is a small, fairly isolated town located in the Gunnison Valley, approximately 200 miles southwest of Denver, it offers a surprising diversity of people and a rich history grounded in ranching and mining. WSC reflects this diversity, drawing many students from all over the country to its three most popular areas of study: business, art, and outdoor recreation.

Safe Ride has been successful in the Gunnison community by forming partnerships with several local institutions and organizations. Being a tight-knit community, local support for the Safe Ride program is consistently high.

Because of Safe Ride’s ties to the community, we can offer a “No Questions Asked” service. Customers can ride to their intended destination without fear of being questioned by police or criticized for their drinking behavior. Safe Ride is subject to the same traffic laws as any other vehicle on the road. The driver may call the police if they feel that either their safety or that of a passenger is threatened by another rider.

Above all else, it is important to keep Safe Ride’s services free to the public in order to maintain the positive effects that Safe Ride has had in reducing the DUI rate in the Gunnison community.