Management & Operations

RTD survey finds public cautious about using transit

Posted on May 22, 2020

A total of 2,662 people participated in the survey, which was made available on the RTD website in English and Spanish and through various social media channels. RTD

A Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) survey of nearly 2,700 people earlier this month showed that the public remains apprehensive about engaging in social activities amid the spread of the coronavirus, including riding RTD services. The majority of those who had not used transit in the past 30 days said they will take a wait-and-see approach to the pandemic before riding again.

These are some of the key findings from the survey, conducted online for a weeklong period beginning May 4. RTD collected feedback from customers to assess their attitudes surrounding the virus, including their thoughts about using transit services. A total of 2,662 people participated in the survey, which was made available on the RTD website in English and Spanish and through various social media channels. The agency will use the findings to inform its recovery efforts moving forward.

Respondents were asked to rate six activities according to their perceived level of safeness. Riding RTD was deemed the least safe of the activities people might participate in during the pandemic, relative to the other choices provided in the survey. These were grocery shopping, visiting a drugstore or pharmacy, visiting friends, visiting family, and exercising outside.

The survey also sought feedback from respondents about what will need to happen for them to feel safer riding RTD services. More than 2,400 open-ended responses to this question were submitted, all of which were reviewed and categorized by RTD’s market research team.

The most prominent themes expressed in response to this question include:

  • requiring personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face coverings for operators and passengers
  • assurance that RTD vehicles are cleaned and sanitized frequently and thoroughly
  • observance of social distancing on vehicles
  • a significant decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases
  • the creation of a vaccine
  • a limit on the number of passengers on vehicles
  • increasing or restoring service levels to minimize the risk of crowding
  • widespread availability of testing
  • providing sanitizer for passengers
  • addressing homelessness on vehicles

RTD has enacted many of the measures the public identified. All the agency’s bus and rail operators are required to wear face coverings, and RTD has called on its riders to take responsibility for the safety of themselves and others by doing the same. The agency is cleaning and sanitizing all vehicles each day using an EPA-approved emerging-virus disinfectant. To maintain proper social distancing between operators and riders, RTD last month suspended fare collection and switched to rear-door boarding and exiting on most buses. The agency’s staff has been monitoring passenger loads across the system and working to minimize the number of passengers on vehicles. RTD staff are in regular communications with health officials and are closely following the latest health care guidance to ensure an appropriate response to the coronavirus.

To read the entire feedback summary, including a detailed breakdown of the findings, click here.

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