Hundreds of RTD jobs could be eliminated due to $166M budget shortfall

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DENVER (KDVR) – RTD is considering eliminating hundreds of positions in response to a budget shortfall and low ridership levels caused by COVID-19.

The organization released details in email after a union official told FOX31 that there were more than 800 positions that were being eyed for elimination.

According to Union President Lance Longenbohn, 650 of the positions are union members and 175 are management.

Of the 650 union positions, 180 of them are already vacant, 390 will be operator positions, 50 will be bus maintenance positions and another 30 will be miscellaneous light rail workers.

At the management level, 117 of the 175 positions are currently filled but specifics about what these jobs are have not been released.

“RTD is fear-mongering,” said Longenbohn in a news release, “putting out signals that they can do without their front-line employees. In short, RTD is treating its employees like Zeros, not Heroes.”

RTD’s release echoed these numbers, saying about 635 part-time and full-time positions that are currently fulled could be eliminated.

>>RELATED: ‘Transit industry veteran’ Debra Johnson selected as new CEO and general manager of RTD (Aug. 25)

According to RTD, ridership remains at 40% of it’s pre-COVID-19 levels, service is currently at 60% of pre-COVID levels and 100% of the pre-COVID staffing is still in place.

The anticipated budget shortfall for 2021, according to RTD, is $166 million.

Longenbohn told FOX31 he learned of the layoffs in a meeting last week but RTD wanted to wait until this week to release the numbers. RTD officials then asked Longenbohn to wait another week but news had already reached the union so he decided to go with it.

Other budget reductions being considered by RTD include deferring capital and maintenance projects, forgoing pay increases for salaried employees and implementing tiered furloughs for salaried employees.

The RTD Board of Directors is set to hold a study session on these options Sept. 15.

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