RTD approves plan to reduce services starting April 19

Changes include package originally scheduled for May, plus weekend service levels in response to COVID-19

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Service changes originally planned for May, along with a service-reduction plan to address COVID-19, were approved March 24 by the Regional Transportation District's Board of Directors.

According to a news release, the approved changes will reduce the agency's bus, light rail and special services starting April 19.

The extensive package of May service changes would originally have taken effect May 17, the release said. However, a special board meeting was called to address COVID-19 by moving to the weekend service outlined in the May service changes. The COVID-19 plan was passed unanimously.

The initial changes shift most bus service to a Saturday schedule and light rail service to a Sunday schedule as outlined in the May service change plan. This is in response to a 70% decrease in ridership resulting from the spread of COVID-19, the release said. The weekend levels of service that were approved reduce service by about 40 percent from current levels.

“The current decrease in RTD ridership is unrivaled in the agency's history, and by taking this action, we exercise responsibility and care for our employees and our customers,” RTD Interim General Manager and CEO Paul J. Ballard said in the release. “This also allows us to continue to serve those who rely on us, including health care and food service workers and others who are critical to fighting this crisis, while also giving us flexibility to restore service as ridership returns.”

Ballard said the reduced service levels will remain in effect through Sept. 20, which is the next planned service change. RTD will continue to evaluate ridership and service needs and reinstate service as demand warrants and ridership returns, according to the release.

Service will be restored as necessary from Saturday and Sunday service to the service levels outlined in the May service change.

RTD intends to retain its operations staff during the service reduction. Those who aren't assigned regular routes will be on standby to cover open trips or shifts for operators who call in sick, as well as participate in refresher training. Taking this approach will keep the agency's workforce intact for when the pandemic subsides and service levels can be restored, the release said.

RTD's commuter rail lines — University of Colorado A Line, B Line and G Line — will continue to run at current service levels, because they are operated by Denver Transit Partners, a private concessionaire, according to the news release.

For more information, go to https://www.rtd-denver.com/coronavirus

RTD, COVID-19

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