DENVER (KDVR) — RTD’s latest round of cutbacks went into effect today, catching some people off guard. RTD says it is still operating under the pandemic service plan and is adjusting schedules as needed.
Mandy Ash’s 11-year-old daughter returned to in-person learning at Palmer Elementary School, but getting to school proved to be a challenge.
“We catch the bus here, down to 9th and Grape. She gets off, walks across the playground and she’s at school. It’s very simple, very easy,” Ash said.
But they learned the 10 route was no longer running through their neighborhood, so they had to catch two different buses, and then walk about a half mile.
“Then she was like, ‘my toes are freezing. I’m cold.’ I’m just like, ‘OK, we will get there as soon as we can, then you’ll be warm and OK. Let’s just get there,’” Ash said.
RTD says it adjusts its routes three times a year, and the past year has been very challenging. The transportation agency is facing a 40% to 50% drop in ridership and a projected $21.5 million budget shortfall this year. They say they had to cut some routes.
“These decisions, we don’t take them lightly. We know they impact people’s lives, so as part of the process, we do hear what their concerns are,” Tina Jaquez said.
“We make service changes three times a year. As part of the process, we put information out to the public so they can have input.”
RTD said the other thing about the pandemic is they have to provide social distancing, so they have to put more buses on routes with more riders.
“Right now we’re just focusing on providing service where we have the highest demand, we will continue that until we see changes,” Jaquez said.
“If we see things easing with the pandemic, with the rollout of the vaccine, if people are more comfortable and commute more, we will adjust accordingly. We have to really be quick to adjust, always knowing we are trying to keep our customers safe and provide service the best way we can.”
Unfortunately, RTD cannot reinstate the 10 route until ridership increases. Mandy Ash and her daughter are anxiously awaiting that day.
“It’s very frustrating. I don’t drive. Anywhere I go in town, it has to be by bus. So it’s very frustrating to have the one major bus line close to home not to go anywhere,” Ash said.