Routt County commissioners hear complaint about transportation at airport


— The Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday afternoon heard from Storm Mountain Express in what’s been an ongoing conversation: the equity of transportation services at Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

Michael Van Vliet, a co-owner of Storm Mountain Express, spoke about his company being denied the ability to solicit walk-up or not previously registered passengers from the Hayden airport to Steamboat Springs.

In the airports three classes of transportations services, which were instituted in 2007, Storm Mountain Express is a Class 2 provider. It has a counter inside the airport for which it pays a rental fee and returns a portion of its revenue to the airport, but it can’t solicit walk-up traffic.

Go Alpine is the lone Class 1 provider at the airport and can provide walk-up service. It also pays fees for a counter and returns a percentage of its revenue.

During the course of Tuesday’s discussion, county and airport officials stated that the contract for a Class 1 provider requires the company to attest to its ability to legally provide walk-up service.

Charles Kimball, an attorney present on Storm Mountain Express’ behalf, stated that it’s his opinion that the federal authority granted to Storm Mountain Express allows for walk-up service.

Go Alpine, which also operates a local taxi service, holds federal and state authorities, according to owner Lisa Adamo, who was present Tuesday.

Storm Mountain Express missed a deadline in the request for proposal process earlier this year and was not able to apply to be a Class 1 provider.

Of the more than 35 people at Tuesday’s meeting, the majority were employed by Storm Mountain Express or there in support of its request. Adamo said she decided not to request supporters of Go Alpine to attend.

“All I’m asking is that my employees can have benefits and can live in Steamboat Springs,” Van Vliet said about the his business's need for the revenue generated by walk-up traffic.

The commissioners expressed frustration with the system that allowed for only one Class 1 provider and said they’ll take more time to consider the legal issues.

“I would ask that the public show a little bit of patience and understanding,” Commissioner Tim Corrigan said.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email


John St Pierre 4 years ago

In light of all the heated discussions recently about American ideals and rights.... I think could that "free enterprise" is one we can all agree on... and that competition is always a good thing.


Ulrich Salzgeber 4 years ago

I have to take issue with Mr. St. Pierre's statement. Competition in the transportation realm can mean less service. currently Go-Alpine is a "regulated monopoly" under the Colorado PUC rules. that requires them to provide all types of transportation to retain that monopoly. Much of that transportation is not profitable. Should they lose that monopoly they will have to only be able to provide the services that are profitable. Whereas Storm Mountain Express has no State authority and can shut down at this time of year since it is not profitable and only provide those services that are profitable.


John St Pierre 4 years ago

does this also include the monoploly they have providing taxis in town??? The city is forced to run the transit system in the red because of the defacto agreement the city and Go-Alpine entered into when the transit system was created barring the city from charging any fees on the busses... its also too bad that the large bus that runs between Craig & Town is barred from picking people up on a regular schedule at the Airport especially since the 2x a day (in season) is 1/2 emptyor more most of the time.


Michael Van Vliet 4 years ago


Your facts are wrong!

Storm Mountain Express has a Colorado PUC, LL.

Storm Mountain Express has a Federal Authority, that allows passenger transportation, interstate, intrastate & foreign commerce

Being one of the past managers for Alpine Taxi you where part of the predatory team that oppressed Storm Mountain Express in the early days.

You should be ashamed of your discrimnating behavior & it still continues with dishonesty...

Michael Van Vliet


Scott Wedel 4 years ago

Well, in other cities there is a controversy of people performing taxi like services on limo licenses or nothing more than a driver's license. They use smart phone apps to get around various regulations on taxi services. So the passenger doesn't hail a taxi, but they make a quick connection showing their location, their picture and likewise for the vehicle and driver.

So would Mr Van Vliet accept those competitors or fight them for not having proper PUC license for providing a taxi like service?


Michael Van Vliet 4 years ago

Scott, Your talking about Uber and there are a few others that operate with smart phone applications, currently they are operating without regulations or rules, the Colorado PUC is currently or has adopted some rule changing to discourage rogue type operations, as far as the YVRA there are illegal operations going on & I stay clear of it, if an accident happens or the AP administration gets hold of it, I am sure they will deal with it.

As far as fighting over not having a PUC Authority, thats up to the government or regulated monopolies, I believe in fair & reasonable competition.

I also think that the government makes it very difficult for small business to operate successfully, lots of red tape, taxes, fees, bonding, testing, insurance. All of the road blocks that you have to indure, such as audits,investigations of your business. The government becomes your partner and you have no say and you take all of the risk, next time take a look at the thickness of the contracts , they don't protect you.

There is way to much government involvement and the small business suffers over & over again.


Scott Wedel 4 years ago

I think the reasons for government regulation of taxi companies has greatly decreased over recent years.

There was a time when a passenger needing a ride was basically trapped until reaching the destination. Now a passenger can typically call for help.

There was also a time when a passenger could know nothing about the driver and the vehicle. Now smart phone apps let a passenger see reviews before agreeing to the driver.

And the smart phone app can both quote a fair price and take payment. I believe Uber is marketed as a luxury experience with nicer vehicles and charges more than taxis.

So arguably, now there are free market solutions for someone to get an enjoyable safe ride without PUC regulations. Nothing against you, but your industry is likely to be disrupted by technology.


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