Regional Transportation District M

 

The Regional Transportation District is facing challenges from the FasTracks project. Since 2013, we've expanded service by +500,000 hours. In 2014, ridership peaked at 104.9 million boardings. In 2018, ridership had dropped to 97.6 million boardings. While ridership decrease affects fare revenue, the agency is still seeing increased costs to provide services. It's creating an unsustainable financial future.

The public asks why has ridership dropped when substantial taxes have been dedicated to public transit expansion? The reasons include market share shift to Transportation Network Companies (TNC), commonly known as Uber and Lyft. These TNC options have filled a gap that public transit can't fill. Fast, convenient, and within a few minutes (sometimes less) that vehicle is there and ready to take you right where you need to go.

Another factor is inexpensive gas price, per gallon is $2.20-$2.50.

As the RTD Board looks at challenges at hand, we have a $4.5 million dollar research project underway to bring stakeholders together and look at our options. This service discussion is called Reimagine RTD. Summary of this 1-2 year project: What service can we fit in a constrained budget? What is transit equity?

One main question haunts the process. Do we continue to offer wide-spread coverage with a lot of bus stops or do we limit the access points and focus on just high ridership routes? Lots of pros and cons. Evergreen is rural and the costs to run even limited service have very high subsidies but those taxpayers contribute just as much as the residents living next to Broadway which offers service every 10 minutes. Should dense areas get privilege? Many Colorado residents do not want to live in high-density area.

Convenience and speed are important factors for riders. We're in the middle of proposing a drastic service reduction to the public. It's been difficult to say the least. Everyone seems to understand the problem but doesn't want their area affected. Whether it's the 99L express, the RunRide, Broncos Ride, or the under performing R-Line - hardly anyone wants to give up the current options. If we the board of directors don't pass some or all of the reductions, we'll continue to require bus drivers and train operators to work 6-days a week. That last statement needs clarity that even if we pass some or all of the reductions, we'll still have some mandated overtime, service changes will alleviate the severity.