Management & Operations

RTD estimates its ridership has dropped 60% due to COVID-19

Posted on March 19, 2020

RTD is now providing about 139,000 trips each weekday, compared with 347,800 weekday trips one year ago. Denver RTD

Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) estimates that ridership on its system has dropped about 60% through Wednesday as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, based upon informal counts by staff across the transit system.

RTD is now providing about 139,000 trips each weekday, compared with 347,800 weekday trips one year ago. The agency is working to quantify the effects the pandemic is having on its ridership and solidify actual ridership figures. For comparison, transit agencies across the U.S. have reported they are experiencing a drop in ridership ranging from 45-80%.

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

RTD is committed to providing service to its customers, many of whom are transit dependent. It also recognizes the importance of continuing to serve healthcare workers and other professionals whose work is critical in fighting this disease.

RTD’s Access-a-Ride paratransit service also has seen a steady decline in bookings. While average weekday trip demand is typically around 3,000 trips per day, with a 3% to 4% cancellation rate on the day of service, trip numbers this week are lower — and cancellation rates are higher:

  • Monday: 1,808 trips booked, 26% cancellation rate
  • Tuesday: 1,277 trips booked, 20% cancellation rate
  • Wednesday (through mid-afternoon): 1,098 trips booked, 17% cancellation rate

As of Thursday, Access-a-Ride will suspend five-day advance bookings and allow customers to only book next-day trips.

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