Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

There's been a bit of bandying lately at RTD over whether or not the region's mass-transit machine needs to apologize to its constituents, many of whom were left high and anything but dry during the recent succession of blizzards and their aftermath. Should we say "sorry," they ask? Wasn't it just an act of nature, over which RTD had no control?

Well, sure. Even as I climbed on my usual bus, overcrowded with dripping humanity on the first day transit was back up and running after the biggest storm hit, it was the driver who was on my mind. I wondered how he'd gotten to the garage that morning, and what it was like to commandeer a whale on wheels through the snow-choked streets. I admired him, and yet I'd had to walk down the middle of the street just to flag him down. And as I've already related in my January 3 blog, just getting there was an adventure that I'll never forget, not to mention one that didn't change measurably for several weeks.

Me? I'm relatively hale and hardy. Besides, I eventually switched to another route for the time being: Though it takes longer, and I have to transfer, I only have to cross the street to catch the bus now, rather than traverse alternating mountain ranges and ice flats to finally stand atop a dirty Everest of a bus stop and cross my fingers. And for what it's worth, a drive-by this morning, in advance of another approaching round of snow, revealed that my old stop was finally clean. But what, I still wonder, have all the little old ladies with grocery bags and families with small children and people in wheelchairs done in the same situation? As the plowed piles of snow grew taller and taller on the sidewalks, covering bus stops and everything else in their paths, where did they go? What were their options?

Truth is, we don't need your stinkin' apology, RTD. Like the service that was lacking, it's just plain too late. Instead, it makes sense to begin planning ahead for the next time. -- Susan Froyd

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts