COVID-19 leads to service changes on RTD’s Golden bus, light rail lines

16L bus line will not run in April

Staff report
Posted 4/8/20

RTD is making changes to transit lines serving Golden as part of a systemwide effort to deal with the drop in ridership that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes, which were announced …

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COVID-19 leads to service changes on RTD’s Golden bus, light rail lines

16L bus line will not run in April

Posted

RTD is making changes to transit lines serving Golden as part of a systemwide effort to deal with the drop in ridership that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The changes, which were announced on March 24 and will take effect April 19, impact the W light rail line that runs between the Jefferson County Government and Denver’s Union Station as well as the 16 and 16L bus lines.

The W line will now run daily on its current Sunday schedule, meaning that there will now be one train an hour instead of one train every 15 minutes during daytime hours.

The 16L, which travels between downtown Golden and the Denver Civic Center, will not operate all during the service change. Service on the 16, which travels between downtown Golden and Denver’s Union Station, will not be offered between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. However, the 16 will otherwise continue to operate on its regular daily schedule. The regional GS line, which operates between the Federal Center and Boulder with stops in Golden, is also being reduced to two runs in the morning at peak hours and two in the afternoon. RTD has not yet announced the schedule for those runs.

RTD Interim General Manager and CEO Paul J. Ballard said RTD is implementing the changes across its service areas in response to a 70 percent decline in ridership. The service changes will reduce service by 40 percent from current levels.

“The current decrease in RTD ridership is unrivaled in the agency’s history, and by taking this action, we exercise responsibility and care for our employees and our customers,” Ballard said in a statement. “This also allows us to continue to serve those who rely on us, including health care and food service workers and others who are critical to fighting this crisis, while also giving us flexibility to restore service as ridership returns

Fare collection to temporarily cease

As part of the service changes, RTD is also offering its Access-A-Ride customers a new service that allows them to place an order for groceries and have those groceries delivered to their door. Customers must call Access-A-Ride to arrange for grocery pick

up. Access-A-Ride also remains available to customers needing to book travel for essential purposes, including to purchase groceries.

Customers can now schedule trips one day in advance instead of five days in advance. However, Access-A-Ride will not pick customers exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 or who live at residences where residents are known to have the virus.

RTD also announced on April 3 that it was suspending fare collection on all buses and trains across its system and switching to rear-door boarding and exiting on all buses. According to the RTD website, rear-door boarding is being implemented to “provide another layer of social distancing between operators and riders.” Customers who use wheelchairs will continue to board in the front of the bus using the wheel chair lift.

According to the release, RTD intends to retain its operations staff during the service reduction. Those who aren’t assigned regular routes will be on standby to cover open trips or shifts for operators who call in sick, as well as participate in refresher training. Taking this approach will keep the agency’s workforce intact for when the pandemic subsides and service levels can be restored.

The changes are scheduled to remain in effect through May 17. However, RTD has said it will continue to “evaluate demand and reinstate service as demand warrants.”

More information about the changes and new service schedules can be found at rtd-denver.com.

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