What We're Doing
Last Updated: February 19, 2021
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. Through the pandemic, RTD continues to serve people who must work or take care of others, and for whom other transportation options are severely limited.
- Effective February 10: RTD releases its 2020 Year in Review video.
- Effective February 6: RTD will provide bus shuttles for the vaccination event to be held at the National Western Stockshow complex. Vaccinations are for those who are 70+, and have made an appointment*. Shuttle service at the event will be free of charge, while transportation to the event will require regular fare. See RTD shuttle route map.
- Effective February 1: The CDC's Federal Mask Order requiring passengers to wear masks while waiting in transportation hubs, riding public transit, and disembarking goes into effect.
- RTD will be receiving about $203.4 million through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA), as part of $14 billion allocated in support of U.S. public transit systems to help offset impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We were thankful to be the recipient of $232 million in CARES Act funding, which was a lifeline to help us absorb the financial hardships of the pandemic. This federal grant funding, which came with strict reporting guidelines, was intended to help cover the costs of PPE, cleaning supplies and processes, and to keep transit operations going, including keeping people employed. While these relief funds were a big help, they did not cover our complete financial shortfall. The CARES Acting funding was expended by the end of 2020.
Protecting Our Customers
- Bus, rail and paratransit vehicles are cleaned daily in accordance with RTD’s Pandemic Plan, 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.
- RTD is working with transit agency peers to share lessons learned and best practices.
- We are closely following updates from the World Health Organization (WHO), 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.
Agency Updates Timeline
- Effective January 27: RTD implements revised safety protocols in the Union Station bus concourse.
- Effective January 11: RTD receives Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA) funding.
- 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.
- Effective April 30: RTD has received 6,510 face coverings, masks, and shields. Thank you to those who have donated.
- Effective April 27: Due to the limited supply of available face coverings for sale, 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.
- 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 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 June 26: RTD implements new safety measures on bus and rail lines, which includes requiring riders to wear masks.
- 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 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 September 2: RTD Light Rail Airflow Study is released.
- 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).
- 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).
- Effective November 11: Crews have installed 92% of protective bus shields on our fleet.
- Effective December 1: Crews have installed 95% of protective bus shields on our fleet.
Protecting Our Employees
We care and value our employees and have taken several new measures to keep them healthy and safe. For example, we provide personal protective equipment including face masks and shields, hand sanitizer, gloves and cleaning supplies to our employees. We also implemented a temperature check system that includes a symptom checker to ensure that only people without fevers are allowed entrance into a facility. Visitors have also been prohibited since March 2020 as another safety measure to control who has access to our facilities.
In addition, we have increased the level of cleaning and disinfection of our facilities and vehicles. This includes the introduction of electrostatic cleaning that provides hospital-grade cleaning for our vehicles. This also includes the distribution of cleaning and disinfecting supplies that can be used in each employee’s work area. We also encourage employees to stay home when sick.
We've taken several measures to increase the safety of our operators by designing and installing polycarbonate protective barriers. We also limit the number of passengers in accordance with state requirements and encourage exiting through the rear of buses—this is done by playing automatic messages directing customers to exit via the back of the bus and adding striping to the ground that points in the direction of the exit.
Conditions will continue to evolve, but our commitment to keeping our employees healthy and safe will remain constant.
Bus Maintenance/Cleaning Procedures
- Using a proper concentration mix of disinfectant, the following is cleaned daily on RTD buses:
- Hand railings and hand straps
- Doors and handles
- Backs of doors
- Step wells
- 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
- Hand Railings
- Hand straps
- Doors and handles
- Backs of doors
- Walls, side walls, bulkhead walls
- 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.