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Persistent staff shortages may prompt RTD to make temporary service cuts to improve reliability.EXPAND
Persistent staff shortages may prompt RTD to make temporary service cuts to improve reliability.
David Wilson / Flickr

Reader: How Can RTD Cut Even More Service?

To deal with ongoing driver and operator shortages, RTD is considering temporarily suspending "a significant amount of service." RTD’s proposal for service cuts aims to address what agency leadership says is a critical problem for staff recruitment and retention: the practice of “mandating,” or forced overtime.

Here's what readers have to say about RTD's woes:

Says Sarah:

I don't how how they can possibly "cut" service any more since from where I'm standing, service looks like it has been cut, chopped, screwed and diced beyond recognition. Buses and trains that never show, drivers who look like they are borderline suicidal, on top of poorly planned and crumbling infrastructure.... I am at my wits' end with RTD and have been for years now. They charge the highest rates in the country, and we get half as much service as cities like NY or Seattle. Cut the shit, RTD, please, and figure out something that works...or else? I guess that's the best part of all this: Since I have no car and can't possibly walk two hours every day to get into work, I am stuck in the endless cycle of inconvenience that is public transit in this city. *sigh*

Explains Chris:

Raise the RTD tax, raise the 3-zone tickets to $10 each way. Put in bus lanes to cause more traffic and sit empty with reduced buses. RTD is the greatest example of governmental waste and dysfunction there is anywhere.

Notes Natasha:

This is why I'm finally learning how to drive, so I can take myself to and from work.

Argues Kaitlyn:

RTD's continuous unreliability makes riders feel like they have to drive to work. At least, it does for me. Which of course increases cars on the road and makes traffic worse. Instead of trying to figure out how many lanes to increase I-25, how about they make public transportation ACTUALLY RELIABLE?

“The feedback we’re getting is that mandating is the number-one issue,” said Heather McKillop, RTD’s chief financial officer, when we spoke to her about the driver shortage last week. “We do exit interviews, and we hear that repeatedly — that it has to do with not being able to go to doctor’s appointments, not being able to attend their children’s functions on a regular basis, having to cancel functions with their family.”

Mandating is not only making the agency’s staffing problems worse, it's harming drivers and possibly leading to increased safety risks, RTD general manager Dave Genova told RTD boardmembers at last week's meeting.

RTD staffer did not outline the specifics of their plan for service cuts, which they’re expected to formally unveil at a board meeting on November 12. But in order to significantly reduce the 22,408 hours of service provided by mandated or “6th day” operators last month, the cuts will likely have to be steep.

What do you think of RTD? Let us know in a comment or at editorial@westword.com.

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