RTD takes next big step in fare study, equity analysis

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) announced today that it is seeking proposals for consultant support for its systemwide fare study and equity analysis, putting the agency on track to develop an equitable fare structure and recommendations for pass programs by late 2022 and implement any changes in 2023.

RTD follows a fare structure that was implemented in 2016, with fare levels in three categories: Local, Regional and Airport. The agency’s Board of Directors most recently approved revisions to the agency’s fare structure and pass programs that were implemented in 2019. Since then, RTD has consistently heard from customers and stakeholders that its fares and pass programs are too expensive and too complicated. General Manager and CEO Debra A. Johnson agrees, having noted when plans for the review were announced earlier this year that the current fare structure is burdensome for many customers.

“It is our mission to make our customers’ lives better through connections,” Johnson said. “The most basic question we can ask is whether our system works for them, and that answer begins with a thorough, comprehensive exploration of our fares. Today’s milestone marks the next big step in our efforts to reduce access barriers to public transit in metro Denver.

“I look forward to bringing the best team on board to guide us through every element of this important project.”

The fare study and equity analysis will follow a process consistent with guidance from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and will include comprehensive public involvement, including extensive multicultural outreach. Such outreach will accompany a sound technical analysis of potential fare policy changes. The process is expected to take about 18 months.

Consultant proposals must be emailed by 2 p.m. Oct. 11 to RTD’s contracts and procurement division. RTD staff plans to present its recommendation for the optimal consultancy to lead this effort to the RTD Board in November. Interested firms will find more details here.