RTD could cut bus, light rail service because of operator shortage

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DENVER — With a shortage of about 60 rail operators and 80 bus drivers, RTD could cut service in the near future.

In the past 2 1/2 years, RTD has had more than 710 bus drivers and 200 train operators leave their jobs.

RTD spokesperson Pauletta Tonilas says the issue is a symptom of growth and prosperity in the metro area.

“The result of a strong economy where we have a smaller pool of people looking for work and a lot of folks just don’t want to do this type of work,” she said.

RTD had only been able to rehire 73% of the bus drivers and about 80% of the train operators.

Many drivers and operators have had to work forced overtime.

RTD admits the practice of call mandating is taking a toll on its employees, physically and mentally, and impacting the ability of the company to retain operators already on staff.

“We care about our employees. They’re  our most valuable asset,” Tonilas said. “Folks are tired of working six days a week and we understand that.”

RTD’s board of directors is considering how to deal with the situation. Its latest report issued Thursday says the labor shortage has dramatically impacted employees and the ability to deliver reliable service.

The next board of directors meeting is Tuesday when the possible service cuts will be discussed.

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