Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) staff presented a proposed service reduction plan to the board of directors to address the bus and rail operator shortage the agency is experiencing. The board agreed that staff should move forward with the plan as part of the May service change process, which will include public input in January and February.
Implementation of a service reduction will provide the agency with an opportunity to build up workforce while providing some relief to operators and reliability to customers.
In October, staff presented to the board the need to address operator shortage by considering a reduction of some bus and light rail service. During a public input process in November, riders expressed a desire to reduce service to improve reliability of service. For this proposed plan, staff used RTD’s normal service standards for determining which routes will be changed or reduced that consider route performance, connectivity to the network, availability of alternative service, and equity to communities.
“The goal of this proposal is to reduce mandating our staff, uphold our core value of safety, and improve reliability for customers,” RTD GM/CEO Dave Genova said. “We want to regain the confidence of our passengers while improving quality of life for our employees.”
The operator shortage has affected RTD’s ability to provide the public with reliable service. It has also impacted operators’ quality of life, with many of them required to work six days every week. Those with the least seniority are most frequently affected, but the requirement often extends to some of RTD’s most senior bus and rail operators. The objective of the proposal is to better balance staffing with a level of service that RTD can reliably deliver.
In January, staff will present the full list of proposed service changes that will include these reductions. Customers can provide their input during a public input process from mid-January to February. In March, a revised plan will be presented to the board and, if approved, will be implemented in May 2020.