DENVER (KDVR) — After an RTD passenger stabbed someone to death on a bus and later stabbed and killed another person near a bus stop, transit operators say safety continues to be a top concern. 

On Thursday, the Denver Police Department arrested the suspect in two deadly stabbings along Federal Boulevard, one on an RTD bus and another by a bus stop a couple of miles way near Regis University.

‘Really dangerous situations’ on RTD buses

Ronald Short serves as the recording secretary for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001, representing bus drivers in the community and helping new hires.

“You have moments where there’s really dangerous situations out there on the bus that can pop up out of nowhere, so I really encourage our operators to not be confrontational with anyone on the bus,” Short said.

Short said he’s been an RTD bus driver for 24 years.

“When once you could drive the bus and just be worried about traffic, now you have a whole bunch of other things going on behind you that you have to be concerned about as well,” Short said.

Deadly stabbing near Regis University
Police investigating a deadly stabbing near an RTD bus stop at 50th Avenue and Federal Boulevard on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023 (KDVR)

What’s emergency protocol for RTD buses?

In case of an emergency, Short said company protocol instructs them to stop the bus, open both doors and alert dispatch.

“We have silent alarms on the bus as well, so we can just push a button and dispatch can hear everything that’s going on in the bus. We don’t have to necessarily say anything about it,” Short said.

He said there’s video surveillance on all buses and trains, which has helped authorities in previous situations, but safety among drivers remains a concern.   

“There’s always concerns brought up in meetings,” Short said. “Chief (Joel) Fitzgerald, the RTD chief of police, has been on record saying that they are currently working on improving efforts to address security concerns.”

Bus surveillance video showing a man on an RTD bus
Photos of suspect in a stabbing on an RTD bus on June 30, 2022 (Denver Police Department, RTD)

Short said there are currently transit officers who are addressing problematic areas.

RTD also provides the Transit Watch app, which passengers can use to report suspicious activity to RTD Transit Police and remain anonymous.

Short said he hopes to see some changes and will continue doing his part to serve the community.

“I love being out there,” Short said. “Once you start driving for years and you get to know the passengers, you become a part of their community. You become a part of their family at times.”