RTD is keeping our frontline employees and passengers safe while providing a vital service
We know that RTD riders, employees and their families are all dealing with significant challenges as a result of the spread of COVID-19 throughout the metro area and the state of Colorado. We want to be proactive in communicating with everyone how we are adjusting to the situation while keeping people as safe as possible. Things change quickly, so please keep in touch with this space, with RTD’s mobile messaging apps and with your local media for the latest developments.
RTD so far has not announced changes to service as a result of COVID-19 or the various restrictions promoting social distancing in the metro area. Our updated pandemic plan includes protocols for making such decisions and changes. Bus and train ridership is down significantly as people work from home, schools are closed, and some businesses are forced to shut down or curtail their service. Transit agencies in other major cities have begun to announce some cutbacks in service, in order to both protect workers and riders and to adapt to local needs. Many of our riders are transit dependent, and it’s also vital to continue as much service as possible for essential employees of other civic functions, from health care to public safety and utilities.
RTD’s executives and Board members are discussing whether or when service changes are necessary. Changes are complicated because they involve working with the union on several processes to reassign work and integrate various information systems. Due to the drop in ridership, social distancing on our system is happening naturally. So, we haven’t had to institute a directive on limiting riders on each bus or train. RTD will post any changes online and disseminate them through local media whenever those occur.
Some in the RTD community have expressed concern for people experiencing homelessness who may in the past have come to rely on RTD properties as a safe place to linger. We are aware of and sympathize with those concerns; however, during a massive public health threat such as this pandemic, we must also do what’s best for the general public who will continue to pass through our stations and vehicles. Denver Public Health and other metro area public and nonprofit agencies have stepped up their efforts to contact people experiencing homelessness about the coronavirus outbreak and renew offers of sanitary measures and shelter.
Thank you for cooperating with public health recommendations during this difficult time, and please bear with us as we continue to make decisions and discuss changes that will prioritize the safety of everyone.
Needless to say, our primary concern is with our employees and the passengers with whom they come in contact. We have not had any RTD employees test positive for coronavirus as of end of business Tuesday, March 17. We have 20 employees isolated at home who are symptomatic or who had contact with people who have symptoms.
As we’ve been reporting for a few weeks, we are cleaning our buses and trains every day. We have redirected our cleaning crews to make a priority of wiping down surfaces, hand railings, hand grips and common areas. People may see some trash on the floor of their bus or train. That doesn’t mean it isn’t being disinfected every day. Our cleaning crews are doing their best to do an overall cleaning, but as directed, they are making wiping down surfaces with disinfectant their priority.
We are limiting access to major transit centers that include Denver Union Station and Civic Center Station to promote social distancing, as called for by guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state health officials and other experts. Patrons inside the RTD bus concourse at Union Station 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.