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RTD struggles with snow day service amid labor shortage

Posted at 6:11 PM, Oct 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-28 20:15:25-04

DENVER — RTD trains and buses were running up to 30 minutes behind schedule Monday due to a snowstorm that hit the Denver metro area.

"We have ongoing challenges with the driver shortage, so there was a little bit of an impact there as well," said RTD spokesperson Lisa Trujillo.

The shortage of train operators and bus drivers has been an ongoing issue for years that recently resulted in RTD canceling trips.

Some riders were frustrated with the delays adding considerable time to their commute.

"It's already an hour commute, so if I have to add an extra half hour or an extra hour to it, it's just wasted time," said RTD passenger Leon Cobb.

RTD says this could be the new norm until they can solve their driver retention issues. They recently floated the idea of cutting service.

Drivers are exhausted, with many of them working not only mandatory overtime but many getting only one day off a week for years.

"I can go back 101 previous pay cycles, and 94 of those pay cycles had overtime," said light rail operator Walter Palmgren.

Palmgren said the workload has taken a toll on moral.

A recent survey found the majority of drivers reported the mandatory overtime had an impact on their home life and passenger safety.

"People are so frustrated over conditions like getting disciplined for calling in sick or being ridiculed in a disciplinary way," said Palmgren. "I don't know how you can see operations being sustainable."

With more snow expected Tuesday, RTD says there could be more delays and cancellations.

You can always check the RTD rider alerts and sign up for updates.