No one was happy at a meeting of call and ride system riders and others who use the Regional Transportation District’s buses and trains to get …
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No one was happy at a meeting of call and ride system riders and
others who use the Regional Transportation District’s buses and
trains to get around.
With RTD proposing another round of cuts, changes and
dissolutions, riders found themselves pitted against what they have
come to see as a bean-counting bureaucracy.
At issue was the proposed end to Call-N-Ride in Highlands
Of the 45 people at the meeting, many had fought the fight
In Highlands Ranch, one area of the community has regular bus
Another zone is under Call-N-Ride, where riders call the drivers
up to two weeks before they need the service to get scheduled in.
Most of the time, a ride can be arranged at the exact time needed,
and sometimes the rider benefits by being flexible.
Last year, Highlands Ranch saw the end of Saturday Call-N-Ride
service; the rerouting of the AT, or airport bus, away from Mineral
Station, the University and C-470 Park-N-Ride and Lincoln
Call-N-Ride users swayed the RTD board to keep the service, less
They returned this year to keep the service they say gives their
special needs teens the option of working and learning the skills
of a semi-independent life.
Many would be able to use Access a Ride, but some would be left
out of the transportation loop, parents said.
Some commuters within the zone also spoke to the need for some
service so they could keep their jobs.
With fare increases last month, riders in the South Metro area
are saying enough is enough.
The Highlands Ranch Call-N-Ride started in 2006. By 2007 an idea
to expand the service area went forward and RTD officials say that
move added riders.
Now the district is struggling with declining sales tax revenues
and a need to trim $27 million from the budget. The current cuts
could make $4.8 million of that difference.
Also up for cancellation is the 410 bus that connects Parker to
Removing the 410’s 42 daily trips would effectively cut service
to Parker, and free RTD from the legal requirement to provide
access a ride service to pre-qualified disabled users.
But nothing is a done deal, said Brian Matthews, a contracting
services manager with RTD who led the public hearing in Highlands
Ranch Feb. 2.
RTD board members Jack O’Boyle and Kent Bagley, who represent
different parts of Highlands Ranch, were on hand to hear what
riders had to say and to encourage the riders to communicate among
themselves and to keep contacting other board members.
One commuter who uses the bus by choice to ride to Denver Tech
Center, said the rates and inconvenience will drive riders
“In the 3 1/2 years I have been riding RTD, the cost has gone up
60 percent,” said Thomas Dickinson. “We can’t have that kind of
increase. Riders keep riding. This is a dangerous kind of bean
Several parents spoke for their teens who use Call-N-Ride to get
to jobs and school enrichment.
Since call and ride comes to the schools’ doors, and does not
require that the students stand outside at a stop, it is allowable
for the students to use the service.
Commuters have another service threatened with Front Range
Express considering the end of commuter service between Colorado
Springs and Denver. FREX connects downtown Denver, South Metro
Denver, Castle Rock, Monument and Colorado Springs every weekday.
On average, 800 people ride FREX daily.
Colorado Springs is facing an $8.7 million budget shortfall
because of declining sales tax revenues. The city council will
consider cutting the commuter service Feb. 11, when the council
consults with the Pikes Peak Transportation Authority board.
While FREX operates 24,900 service hours annually, the
elimination of the FREX service would effectively save only the
cost associated with 9,100 service hours because of funding
contributions from participating jurisdictions and the collection
Castle Rock already has agreed to contribute $300,000 toward the
service for 2009. Riders going to or from Castle Rock from either
Denver or Colorado Springs pay a fare of $6 each way. FREX
collected approximately $700,000 in fares in 2008.
Any changes in service would take effect April 5.
E-mail your comments on the proposed changes to service.changes@RTD-Denver.com
or fax them to 303-299-2227 no later than Feb. 9.
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