RTD’s Zero Fare for Better Air kicks off with public event July 28

The Aug. 1 start of Zero Fare for Better Air – a collaborative, statewide initiative designed to reduce ground-level ozone by increasing use of public transit – is right around the corner, and RTD invites media outlets and the public to a news conference and community outreach event July 28 to learn more about the initiative.

During the entirety of August, RTD will provide all of its services – bus, rail, paratransit and microtransit – at zero fare to the public. Zero Fare for Better Air, which takes place during Colorado’s highest ozone month, is supported through a grant program created by Colorado Senate Bill 22-180 in partnership with the Colorado Energy Office. Through this initiative, RTD welcomes everyone to its system – those who may have not used the agency’s services, either during or prior to the pandemic; individuals whose travel habits have changed; and those who continue to use RTD services daily.

General Manager and CEO Debra A. Johnson said she appreciates the collaboration and communication with RTD’s community and jurisdictional partners around this initiative, which also aligns with agency strategic priorities that include Customer Excellence and Community Value.

“Providing a full month of zero fare is a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate the value transit brings to the communities served and encourage the public to see firsthand how we make lives better through connections,” Johnson said. “It’s widely known that new habits can be formed within weeks. This month will enable anyone unfamiliar with the RTD system to hop onboard, give the service a try and evaluate whether to modify their travel behavior.”

At a kickoff event at 10:30 a.m. July 28 near Track 6 at Union Station, the public can hear comments from a roster of dignitaries about Zero Fare for Better Air and its importance to the Denver metro region and the state. RTD staff will be on hand to provide information about other agency projects, initiatives and items of interest, including transit safety, Reimagine RTD and the fare study and equity analysis. Members of RTD’s recruitment team will have information about career opportunities available throughout the agency.

Event speakers include:

  • Debra A. Johnson, RTD General Manager and CEO 
  • Vince Buzek, RTD Board Chair 
  • Sen. Faith Winter, Colorado State Senator 
  • Rep. Matt Gray, Colorado State Representative  
  • Bud Starker, Metro Mayors Caucus Chair, Wheat Ridge Mayor 
  • Douglas Rex, DRCOG Executive Director 
  • Dominique Gomez, Colorado Energy Office Deputy Director 
  • Lance Longenbohn, ATU 1001 President and Business Agent 

During the month of August, community coffee chats involving RTD staff and Transit Police team members are also planned at various RTD stations, enabling the public to ask questions about service, safety and other topics of interest. A complete list of event dates and times is published on the Zero Fare for Better Air webpage.

RTD is operating under its current service plan for the duration of the initiative. Agency staff has developed operational plans to meet increased service demands and will make adjustments as necessary. To supplement service as resources are available to do so, rail cars will be added to trains and extra buses will continue to be positioned strategically throughout RTD’s service area.

RTD’s Transit Police division will use all available resources to support Zero Fare for Better Air. With this being a statewide initiative, RTD has spoken with municipalities and local police agencies within the eight counties it serves, with an expectation that every entity supports this effort and provides resources to ensure its success.

Customers who are new to the RTD system can plan trips or research routes by visiting the agency’s website, where they can use the Trip Planner app, access schedules or sign up for Service Alerts. Next Ride provides real-time vehicle information. To ask questions during normal business hours (6 a.m.-6 p.m.), call Customer Care at 303.299.6000.