Vail Daily letter: This could work
July 14, 2014
Editor's note: The letter writer is expressing an idea, not describing a program that is in place.
You've heard of people redeeming CDOT Mountain Points at local businesses, but don't know how to participate. You've heard that all you need is a free transmitter from CDOT's Mountain Points website, but haven't ordered one yet.
It seems to be working, and your friends are excited about it, but need to give it a whirl before you pass judgment. Let's see — you have to watch the point hour notifications for the I-70 mountain corridor from CDOT and pass through the eastbound Eisenhower tunnel at the right time to accumulate points. On a busy ski Sunday, for example, if you return from the mountains from a ski trip, you accumulate more points the closer to midnight you return. If you pass through the tunnel between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., you get 0 points. If you pass through between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., you get 10 points, between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. 20 points, and between 11 p.m. and midnight a whopping 40 points. And you had to pass through the twin tunnels in Idaho Springs at least eight hours prior to your pass through the eastbound Eisenhower tunnel to get your points. I guess CDOT adjusts the points according to traffic patterns and sends notifications. Sweet. This could add up.
So far so good. Sounds pretty simple and — who knows — it could decrease traffic congestion after all. So, maybe you'll be helping society.
So, you decide to visit the CDOT Mountain Points website and order a transmitter for your windshield. To your amazement, hundreds of mountain businesses have decided to participate and issue coupon redemptions for CDOT Mountain Points. Let's see, for 100 points you get 50 percent off your entire order from a Vail pizzeria. Hmm, not bad.
You find the transmitter order form and sign up. You're issued your account access number to be able to check your point balance online — cool. Your unit will arrive within five to seven business days and you just stick it on your windshield like an E-470 sensor.
You think, "I guess it's a good idea for businesses to participate. People can use their CDOT Mountain Points for discounts at all kinds of businesses that they may not have visited before. Businesses can use the portal to offer discounts to drive business, and customers avoid high traffic times on I-70 to accumulate points. People could even redeem their points at a restaurant to avoid high-traffic times and accumulate even more points by returning to Denver later the same day. Who thought of that anyway? It could work."
OK, fine. I'll give it a try. You never know.