When downtown Denver is awash in green during the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 11, a colorful new addition will be in the mix.
The Regional Transportation District is debuting its new parade bus, fully wrapped with colorful artwork depicting people of various races, ages and styles to represent the variety of people who use RTD to get around.
“It's very colorful and vibrant, just demonstrating that RTD is committed to serving all customers, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds,” says Brandon Figliolino, senior specialist of community engagement with RTD. “It demonstrates that we are all one, one community together.”
When RTD officials determined that the agency should become more integrated with the community, they decided to participate in more celebrations and parades around town. But rather than use a normal bus with typical advertisements, they thought that an artful wrap would make a more effective statement.
Even when there’s not a parade, the bus will be working.
“In our internal discussions, we decided that not only would we have this bus dedicated for parades, but that this bus would also be out and about in the community, providing regular service to customers,” Figliolino says. “That allows us the opportunity to not only showcase RTD’s commitment to moving people in parades, but it is there every day.”
The agency will promote the bus with a social media contest. Starting March 13, the first fifty people who spot the bus while it’s in service and share a photo on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #SpotRTD will win a free mobile ticket to ride RTD. The contest ends March 17.
“It’s like a hide-and-seek game or an I Spy game of sorts,” Figliolino says. “Whatever route that bus is going to be on, it will be another reminder that RTD is committed to its customer base and the colorful design will attract the eyes of both customers and non customers."
And who gets to drive the special bus? That assignment will go to a driver volunteer or the Extra Board, a set of operators in reserve who are available to cover for unexpected or unusual circumstances — such as a parade. That system is consistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, RTD notes.
RTD is already planning to participate in the Juneteenth parade on June 17 and the Pride parade on June 25, and Figliolino says the agency is open to others — particularly if the Denver Nuggets or Colorado Avalanche win a championship.
“If we're invited to other parades or things like that, we're certainly open to looking at the feasibility of doing those as well,” Figliolino says.
In the meantime, you can watch a video of the bus-wrapping process on RTD’s YouTube.