RTD’s Code of Conduct contributes to safety during the COVID-19 crisis
As RTD continues to provide service each day to essential workers and others who rely on transit, safety as one of the agency’s core values is even more pronounced with the onset of COVID-19. Thus, the need for clear and accurate information on agency policies.
While we continually update COVID-19 procedures to protect both passengers and employees, it's important to clarify how the agency’s Code of Conduct ensures safety for all in everyday practices at RTD properties. RTD continues to consult with civic and community partners on best practices through a special ad hoc committee, and how to ensure safety while respecting the dignity and civil rights of everyone.
The Code of Conduct singles out behaviors. It does not single out people.
RTD embraces its role as an irreplaceable transportation link for the people in the metro area to get to and from jobs, classes, appointments, errands and entertainment. Our current model of business, developed over decades of statewide policymaking, requires us to attract ridership and earn about 20 percent of our revenue from a willing public via fares. In order to serve more than 3 million people in the metro area, we must make transit accessible, safe, comfortable, secure and financially feasible for as many people as possible.
We have a mandate to serve everyone as equally as possible, while maximizing the beneficial use of taxpayer dollars, and we take both seriously.
As they handle increased safety questions posed by COVID-19, our operators, riders and employees have also faced an increase in safety incidents ranging from assaults and theft to disorderly conduct, vandalism, loitering and trespassing. Any member of the public has the right to use and pass through our facilities and transfer centers including our system hub at Denver Union Station. At the same time, our customers have a right to ride without being subjected to threats, intimidation or harassment.
With the expansion of our system over the past few years to includes the G Line, the R Line and the E, F and R Extension – soon to be joined by the N Line – we’ve expanded our security program. We use a combination of in-house safety officers, off-duty personnel from our metro area agencies and contracted security guards with ample training.
Our Code of Conduct guides all of our security personnel in looking out for all riders, all employees and all members of the public at any time of day, and in any location.
While some people have expressed concern that a new pandemic policy may discriminate against those experiencing homelessness, limiting the wait time in any RTD facility to 10 minutes helps us lower the risk of community spread. It is not our intent or practice to discriminate against anyone – the policy applies to everyone, in all locations, and we strive to continue applying it for the safety and comfort of all.
Among staff and Board directors alike, we also frequently discuss perceptions of policy changes, and how controlling the use of public spaces often raises issues of potential racial, ethnic, disability or other discrimination. We will continue discussions internally and with advisory groups to review our practices, adjust them when necessary and continue consulting with public officials, civic leaders, riders and employees.
Colorado along with every other state is striving to improve public policy regarding poverty, homelessness, safe public spaces and long-term solutions. RTD’s job is to work with the public to balance those needs with the goal of a welcoming and financially sound transit system. We welcome the dialogue and will do our part to contribute.