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RTD proposes cutting 6 bus routes, reducing other bus and rail services to address driver shortage

Revised plan will be released in March, final plan likely in May
Posted at 8:28 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-20 10:01:55-05

DENVER – Staff for the Regional Transportation District (RTD) on Thursday presented its proposal to reduce services across the metro area to the RTD Board of Directors – which could lead to six bus routes being cut, reduction in services on several rail lines and the end of some special services for major sporting events.

The proposed cuts come about two months after RTD staff told the board it needed to cut some services to address a rash of driver and operator shortages and after a public input period in November about which routes could feasibly be cut.

Draft Service Reduction Plan by Denver7 on Scribd

The new proposal will now face scrutiny and input from the public over the next few months before the staff compiles a revised plan to be presented in March, and then put into place in May if it is approved.

Among the proposed cuts are eliminating six routes: the 16L bus on West Colfax, the 55 bus in Arvada, the 99L in Lakewood, the 157 to Buckley Air Force Base, the 236 in Boulder and the 403 that runs along Lucent Blvd. in Highlands Ranch.

Nineteen other routes would see reduced services. The routes that would be cut under the proposal either have light ridership or alternate routes, RTD said.

Several special services – the RunRide Memorial Day Service, Rockies Service, BuffRide and Broncos Ride – would also be eliminated under the proposal. The 16th Street Mall shuttle would run every 3 minutes instead of every 90 seconds during peak times under the proposal.

And three rail lines – the C, D, H, and R lines – would see reduced service as well. The D Line’s weekend service would be discontinued; Saturday service on the H Line would be reduced to every 30 minutes; and R Line services on weekdays would be reduced to every 30 minutes.

Under the proposal, the C Line would add services on the weekends.

“The goal of this proposal is to reduce mandating our staff, uphold our core value of safety and improve reliability for customers,” RTD General Manager and CEO Dave Genova said in a statement. “We want to regain the confidence of our passengers while improving quality of life for our employees.”

Erika Broad, who rides the R Line to eventually get to work at the airport, said the changes would interfere with her family time.

"It's going to just totally just mess it up,” she said. “My kids … they're not going to be able to see me as much and my boyfriend is just going to have to take over the household duties.”

The proposed cuts will be presented to the public in January and February before the updated plan is released in March, RTD said.