DENVER (KDVR) — With more than 50 million people now using public transportation to get to jobs, sporting events and holiday functions, a big concern is the transmission of COVID-19.
Regional Transportation District operates more than 2,000 square miles of routes servicing eight counties, but enforcing its mask policy is a problem.
RTD told the FOX31 Problem Solvers ridership is up 76% since the beginning of the year. During the pandemic, the University of Colorado A Line retained 45% of its pre-COVID ridership, which amounted to nearly 3.8 million boardings. This was the best in the nation for commuter rail properties.
Masks are required on buses and trains but a shortage of security personnel makes it difficult to enforce the policy, RTD told FOX31.
Drivers are not encouraged to enforce policies.
“We don’t ask them to enforce the mask mandate because we don’t want them to risk having a confrontation with a customer,” said RTD spokesperson Marta Sipeki.
In an effort to address the problem, RTD is offering thousands of dollars to attract workers including transit police, bus drivers, train operators, technicians and mechanics.
“Right now we are offering a $4,000 hiring bonus for those positions so anybody who’s interested, we’re open for business, we’re hiring people, we want people to come on board with RTD,” said Sipeki.
One passenger told FOX31 she wants to see increased enforcement of the mask policy after being diagnosed with a respiratory illness.
“I’m praying and I hope it’s protecting us,” she said.
Drivers do carry masks for riders who need one. RTD offers job training. For more information about employment opportunities, visit https://www.rtd-denver.com/careers.