Private ‘transit’ company Chariot is going out of business and so is the short-lived shuttle between Cherry Creek and downtown

That was fast.
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Chariot CEO Dan Grossman shows Mayor Michael Hancock how the Chariot app works as City Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman looks on. (David Sachs/Denverite)

Denver's experiment with private shuttle company Chariot will end prematurely this month following the company's collapse, which was announced today.

Chariot, which is owned by Ford, was the latest urban transport company claiming to fill gaps in Denver's bus network. Chariot is like a bus-Lyft-van combo in which riders reserve a seat on a 14-passenger car through an app, but the shuttle only stops at predetermined... stops.

Denver has two routes (not for long): one at the University of Denver and one that runs between Cherry Creek, Capitol Hill and Downtown. Denver put down $250,000 to let riders use the Cherry Creek line for free for six months. Jan. 27 is the last day of service for both routes.

The announcement was a "complete surprise" for the city -- and for Chariot's employees, said Stuart Anderson, executive director of Transportation Solutions, which is managing the pilot program.

The DU line was performing "exceptionally well," Anderson said. But the Cherry Creek line served only 110 people in two and a half months.

Anderson said his organization is exploring partnering with Lyft's carpool service, Lyft Line, for the pilot's duration.

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