Who’s responsible for clearing snow at RTD stops? It could be you

The next time you are straddling a mound of freshly fallen snow at your bus stop or scrambling to stay upright on a three-day-old layer of ice, you might as well throw your curses and hexes in the right direction. 

Knowing whose job it is to clear RTD’s approximately 9,400 bus stops may not clear the ground at your particular location. But it might empower you to make your feelings known in places that can actually do something about it. 
Municipal codes throughout the metro area place the burden of snow and ice clearance at sidewalks and curbs almost universally on the adjacent property owner, whether it’s a private business, a homeowner or an absentee landlord. That includes the majority of the sidewalk spots where RTD plants a flag in the form of a metal pole and red bus stop sign.

RTD holds responsibility for 330 bus stops with structural shelters in the metro area. For those, the same contractor that regularly patrols the RTD shelters for garbage removal, cleanliness and graffiti removal also clears snow and ice from storms.

If you’re doing the math while waiting for the bus or train, that’s less than 3 percent of all RTD bus stops across an enormous service area. Feel free to call RTD Security at 303-299-2911 to talk about conditions at any of those RTD-controlled shelters. Riders can also communicate any concerns – anonymously, if desired – using the agency’s popular Transit Watch app. 

Each shelter is permitted by a local agency, and as part of the permit, RTD must clear snow and ice at least five feet around the shelter. Residents are sometimes confused, understandably, by separately run “ad shelters” that may look similar to the RTD sites but are controlled by a contract between the city and the ad distributor. 

If you’re distressed about conditions at a stop within the City and County of Denver, your best bet is a 311 call, said Robin McIntosh, senior manager of facilities for RTD. The city can take a complaint and have an inspector look at the situation. 

City officials have told media that the fastest and most effective thing to do might be to talk to a neighbor or nearby business owner and politely remind them of their duties.

“I do have to explain this quite often,” said McIntosh, who noted that some municipal officials around the metro area need to hear the explanation during bad storms as well. 

“I got a call about a Boulder site, and it was actually the city’s shelter,” he said. “I only know which ones are mine!”