RTD says ridership down 60% because of COVID-19

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DENVER (KDVR) — RTD said ridership is down 60 percent because of COVID-19 and while it needs to stay nimble and monitor the system, it plans to stay committed to helping commuters continue to get work.

RTD said it’s averaging 139,000 rides per day right now, compared to 347,800 rides a day at this time last year. RTD said it’s basing its numbers off informal surveys by staff and is still working on quantifying the impact of the coronavirus on its ridership.

“We are monitoring our ridership daily to watch for emerging trends,” said RTD interim General Manager and CEO Paul Ballard in a press release. “During these challenging times, we must be nimble while also continuing to serve our customers, especially those who rely on us.”

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, 17,000 Coloradans applied for unemployment after COVID-19 forced businesses to close and layoff employees. In addition to layoffs, people are encouraged or mandated to work from home, decreasing RTD ridership as well.

RTD is not the only transportation agency impacted by the coronavirus. Other agencies across the U.S. report ridership decreases between 40 – 80 percent.

RTD is temporarily making changes to Access-a-Ride. It’s temporarily suspending riders ability to book trips five days in advance because too many people are canceling. Right now riders will only be able to book trips one day in advance. All standing orders made before Friday, March 20, will be cancelled so riders must call back and rebook.

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