What We're Doing

Last Updated: November 23, 2020

  • We are thankful to be the recipient of $232 million in CARES Act funding, which has been a lifeline to help us absorb the financial hardships of the pandemic. This federal grant funding, which comes with strict reporting guidelines, is intended to help cover the costs of PPE, cleaning supplies and processes, and to keep transit operations going, including keeping people employed. Most of this funding has been dedicated to our operations and maintaining staffing levels. While these relief funds have been a big help, they do not cover our complete financial shortfall, and the CARES Acting funding will be expended by the end of 2020.
  • RTD's COVID-19 Service Changes is in effect and will be updated as necessary as the pandemic situation evolves.
  • Due to the limited supply of available face coverings for sale in the spring, RTD’s upholstery shop made their own. These masks are tied rather than having rubber bands, or elastic, due to shortages of those products. A few hundred have been made for mechanics already.
  • We are asking our drivers and our customers to the strongest extent practicable to comply with the Governor’s executive order and wear masks on the RTD system.
  • Bus and rail vehicles are cleaned daily, including wiping down handrails and other high-touch surfaces with an industrial-strength disinfectant/antibacterial cleaner.
  • RTD has purchased additional sanitation products and disinfectants, including electrostatic cleaning devices.
  • We are encouraging staff not to come to work if they develop respiratory symptoms accompanied by a fever. If feeling ill, employees are asked a series of questions regarding their illness to better ascertain the extent of illness to ensure the wellbeing of all employees.
  • Employees are encouraged to keep their work stations/areas clean by wiping down surfaces, phones, keyboards, headsets, handles, steering wheels, etc. with disinfectant or sanitizing wipes (Clorox, Lysol, etc.).
  • RTD is working with transit agency peers to share lessons learned and best practices.
  • We are closely following updates from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Denver Office of Emergency Management to ensure an appropriate response to the coronavirus.
  • While there has been a large drop in ridership during the COVID-19 crisis, RTD’s buses, trains and paratransit services remain a vital lifeline for essential commuters, health care workers, public safety employees, government employees, grocery store workers and others continuing operations across the metro region. RTD continues to serve people who must work or take care of others, and for whom other transportation options are severely limited.
  • All items – including committee meeting agendas, minutes and full-text transcripts from past meetings – will continue to be posted on the Board of Directors webpage on the RTD website, under “Board Meeting Resources.” All meetings will remain open to the public. To listen in, call 855-962-1128 (no passcode is required).
  • Paratransit vehicles are being cleaned and disinfected daily in accordance with RTD’s Pandemic Plan. 

2020 Agency Updates

  • Effective October 29: RTD Bus Airflow Study is released.
  • Effective October 27: Crews have installed 87% of protective bus shields on our fleet.
  • Effective October 16: Under Mayor Hancock's public health order, all citizens in Denver must wear a face covering in all outdoor settings (indefinitely), and must limit gatherings to five people (until at least November 16).
  • Effective August 12: Protective bus shields were designed and manufactured by RTD’s Body Shop team. Employees are now installing the see-through shields on all RTD buses. Crews have installed 43% on our buses and aim to install nine per day.
  • Effective July 16: Gov. Jared Polis issues mandatory mask order for indoor public spaces, or while using or waiting to use public transportation.
  • Effective July 1: fare collection will resume. Front-door boarding will also be implemented on buses.
  • Effective May 6: all people over the age of 3 waiting to or riding public transportation in the City and County of Denver must wear face coverings.
  • Effective April 30: RTD has received 6,510 face coverings, masks, and shields. Thank you to those who have donated.
  • Effective April 24: RTD asks all riders to wear a face covering and requires all bus, rail operators to do the same.
    • In accordance with Gov. Jared Polis’s recent order that everyone wear a mask or face covering when out in public, RTD is calling on its riders to take responsibility for the safety of themselves and others by wearing a mask or face covering. All the agency’s bus and rail operators are required to do the same. 
    • RTD’s policy directs employees to wear face coverings at all times when in hallways, walkways and common areas at RTD facilities, and anytime a distance of 6 feet from other people cannot be maintained. Employees are being asked to continue to limit close social interaction with others. The agency has several variations of face coverings available for employees and is now in a position to offer cloth face coverings to employees who need one. Employees may continue to wear their own homemade or purchased face covering should they choose to do so. 
    • To ensure the safety of employees and passengers, RTD continues to follow the provisions of the Guidelines for Public Transportation Providers issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). RTD continues to modify operations and practices as needed in an effort to keep employees and the public safe in the dynamic circumstances brought on by COVID-19.
  • Effective April 19: The COVID-19 Service Plan went into effect.
  • Effective April 14: The agency has implemented several steps to encourage social distancing to keep employees and passengers safe. Now RTD will work to minimize the number of riders on its buses and trains.
    • Limit capacity to approximately 15 passengers per bus and 20 on larger buses
    • Authorize operators to bypass stops and call for backup if they do not believe social distancing (6 foot spacing) can be maintained. (it originally said “when limit is reached”)
    • Add additional buses on most popular routes and stage buses in those areas as available
    • Limit capacity to approximately 30 on rail cars – using additional train cars on popular lines  
  • Effective April 5: Fare collection is suspended at this time on all services. For buses, please board from the rear door until further notice, unless you require ADA assistance. As a reminder, please respect social distancing and keep at least 6’ apart.
  • RTD’s existing no-refund policy remains in effect at this time. We don't yet know the full impact of the pandemic to RTD’s operations, but as we move forward, we continue to focus on safely move our riders. Currently, all RTD services are operating to help riders with essential travel needs. 
  • RTD is monitoring its COVID-19 financial impact so we can apply to receive federal-funding assistance to mitigate our financial challenges. At this point, we are unable to commit to refunds. 
  • Effective March 30: Food Delivery service is available to Access-a-Ride customers. You are still able to book trips for essential purposes, including to purchase groceries. However, beginning March 30, we will offer grocery pickup to your home from the following locations:· King Soopers · Safeway · Community Ministry Southwest food bank · Senior Hub Senior Solutions · Adams County Food Bank.  You must call or go online to set up your order and pickup time yourself.  Visit Access-a-Ride for more information.
  • Effective March 27: Until further notice, RTD is temporarily suspending the $10 replacement fee for EcoPass to minimize the need to go in person to one of our sales outlets. New and replacement orders may be placed via the smart card web portal.  As a reminder, it can take 7-10 days to process the order and the passes will be mailed to the address we have on file. Our sales outlets continue to remain open during this time if you find you need a replacement pass sooner. An authorization form is still required if going in person.
  • Effective March 24: In an effort to combat COVID-19, the RTD Board of Directors has approved a reduced service plan that will go into effect April 19, 2020. The draft plan will be available soon. The intent is to run the COVID-19 Service Plan only as long as necessary, and eventually build service to the May Service Plan. RTD’s commuter rail lines -- University of Colorado A Line, B Line and G Line -- will continue to run at current service levels, because they are operated by Denver Transit Partners, a private concessionaire. Read the full News Release here.
  • Effective March 24: following Mayor Hancock's stay at home order, Access-a-Ride eligibility assessments will be canceled until the order is lifted, currently April 10, 2020.  Customers expecting to participate in re-certification assessments will have their service extended 90 days from their scheduled assessment dates and at their current eligibility status. New applicants for service will be provided with presumptive eligibility until the time that they are able to come in for an assessment, which will be scheduled as soon as possible once the order is lifted.
  • Effective March 23: Until otherwise noted, all official meetings of RTD’s Board of Directors will be conducted remotely, in the interest of public health, safety and welfare. The Board’s Operations & Customer Service committee approved this change at its March 10 meeting. To hear Board of Directors Chair Angie Rivera-Malpiede discuss the decision, click here
  • Effective March 19: Access-a-Ride will suspend 5-day advanced bookings, allowing customers to book next day trips only. All standing orders from Friday, March 20, will be canceled. Customers can call 303-292-6560 to book trips if still required. This change will remain in place until Governor Polis lifts the State of Emergency.
  • Effective March 16: Out of an abundance of caution, we are implementing a No Visitor policy at our RTD facilities. This is being done to ensure we are following CDC recommendations for social distancing and mitigating the spread of the virus.  RTD sales outlets are still open for business.
  • Effective March 12: Transit Security Officers (TSOs) will be conducting visual fare inspections until the spread of COVID-19 becomes controlled. If TSOs encounter individuals without proper visual fare, fare evasion enforcement will take place.
  • No service reductions to paratransit services have occurred at present; however, the number of trips has continually dropped as facilities who are primary consumers for paratransit services have closed.  
  • All paratransit service trip speeds have been slowed to retain drivers for available capacity, to provide increased social distancing during trip delivery and to allow greater standby driver capacity in anticipation of driver call-offs as more employees need to care for their families.  
  • Customers can normally book appeals to their eligibility determination should they disagree with the outcome of their functional assessment. Due to the closure of Blake Street to non-employees, we are not able to have in-person appeals and are providing these customers with Unconditional Presumptive Eligibility until normal operations resume.

Bus Maintenance/Cleaning Procedures

  • Using a proper concentration mix of disinfectant, the following is cleaned daily on RTD buses:
    • Floors
    • Stanchions
    • Hand railings and hand straps
    • Doors and handles
    • Backs of doors
    • Step wells
    • Walls
    • Ceilings
    • Lights and fixtures
    • All glass is cleaned with glass cleaner
    • Operator’s cab (including steering wheel and operator controls) 
  • If the disinfectant supply runs low, all facilities have chlorine bleach available to make a solution as guided by the CDC to disinfect buses.
  • RTD’s Bus Maintenance cleaning team consists of 65 employees with eight vacancies. Employees are spread out over three operating divisions (Boulder, East Metro & Platte) and District Shops, and cover three shifts.
  • The Boulder operating division is closed on Sundays, our District Shops location is closed on the weekends and both Platte and East Metro operating divisions operate 24/7.

Light Rail Maintenance/Cleaning Procedures

  • Using a proper concentration mix of disinfectant, the following is cleaned daily on RTD light rail vehicles:
    • Mop floors
    • Step wells
    • ADA ramp
    • Stanchions
    • Hand Railings
    • Hand straps
    • Doors and handles
    • Backs of doors
    • Walls, side walls, bulkhead walls
    • Ceilings
    • Lights and fixtures
    • Articulating section
    • Overhead panels
    • Cab door
    • Operator’s cab
    • All glass is cleaned with glass cleaner
    • Seats are vacuumed and cleaned as necessary
  • If the disinfectant supply runs low, all facilities have chlorine bleach available to make a solution as guided by the CDC to disinfect light rail vehicles.
  • RTD’s Light Rail Maintenance cleaning team consists of 35 employees divided into three shifts. 

Back-to-School Transit Safety

As RTD gets our region moving again, the agency continues to implement a number of safety measures to help protect passengers:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing buses, trains and facilities daily.
  • Requiring all operators and riders to wear face coverings.
  • Installing see-through protective barriers on all 1,000+ buses in our fleet to protect bus operators and passengers.
  • Promoting social distancing on the system and staging buses in areas along our more popular bus routes to accommodate capacity limits.
  • Reminding passengers safety is everyone’s responsibility and riders should use good judgment when using the system.

Youth Discount

Families should take advantage of RTD’s 70% discount for youth ages 6-19 years old. Other discount fares are available for seniors, individuals with disabilities and Medicare recipients. RTD also offers an income-based discount through our LiVE program, for those who qualify. 


     Call 303.299.6000

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Student Safety Checklist

Keeping children safe and healthy on transit is a top priority. As students start heading back to school, it is important for them to follow these safety tips:

  • Wear a face covering while using RTD services. 
  • Keep at least 6’ from others at all times.
  • Allow extra travel time and use trip-planning apps to see how crowded buses are. Vehicle capacity is limited to maintain social distancing and service is running less frequently under the COVID Service Plan. 
  • Use contactless payment when possible, like RTD’s Mobile Ticketing app or the reloadable MyRide fare card. 
  • At your destination, exit through the rear door to help protect RTD bus operators. 
  • Download the RTD Transit Watch app to report safety concerns to Transit Police.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get to school or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Denver Transit Operators (Commuter Rail)

  • The safety of the traveling public remains a priority for DTO.
  • Currently, DTO is performing daily vehicle cleanings, including disinfecting high-touch surfaces, which is part of a regularly scheduled maintenance component.
  • DTO is deploying an electrostatic sprayer to clean and sterilize trains during after-hours servicing.
  • DTO staff is working closely with suppliers, fabricators and subcontractors to ensure that the operations of the A, B and G lines are not impacted. However, the state of Colorado can enforce a change in service at any time, should they deem it necessary. 
  • DTO is continually monitoring the situation and is prepared to partner with community agencies as requested.

Facility Closures

  • Patrons inside Civic Center Station and the Union Station bus concourse should board the first available bus to their destination and limit the time they spend to no more than 10 minutes prior to the departure of their bus. This is a temporary modification to the existing code of conduct that allows passengers to wait up to two hours for their bus.
  • The agency is restricting public access to other RTD buildings, including its headquarters, according to public health guidelines.
  • RTD customers in need of new or replacement special discount cards can download an application and follow instructions provided through this webpage, which details all discounted fare programs. For questions about special discounts, please call 303-299-2667.

Recognizing Those Who Help


We sincerely thank the individuals, and companies, that have gone above and beyond during this time by donating face masks, coverings, and shields to our essential staff. We thank you for your support!

  • Cohen Family donated 50 handmade face coverings
  • Izmirian Family donated 50 handmade face coverings
  • Jacoby Family and Sara Geist donated 100 homemade face coverings
  • Nick Wetzel donated 10 homemade face coverings
  • Julie Kuenstler donated 20 homemade face coverings
  • Marge Harper and Eliza Schultz donated 40 homemade face coverings
  • RTD Director Natalie Menten delivered nearly 1,700 homemade face coverings
  • BYD Care donated 1,000 disposable surgical masks
  • Yeti Cycles via Mile High Connects donated 2,000 disposable surgical masks and 240 face shields
  • Chinese American Association for Rocky Mountain Region donated 1,000 disposable surgical masks
  • Redline Contemporary Arts Center via Mile High Connects donated 300 washable masks

Personal Hygiene Tips

Proper Hand Washing

Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Follow these five steps every time:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Keep Yourself Safe in Public Settings

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently touched at work and home.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.