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RTD Disruption Information

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Rail. Replacement Bus.

Three words that strike fear into the heart of any seasoned rail traveler. From worries that the bus might be overcrowded, take forever to get there or even not show up at all, rider horror stories abound from the occasions when train services are disrupted, be it due to unplanned incidents or planned maintenance.

There are many things transit agencies can do to reduce the stress on riders from disruption events, particularly those that are planned in advance. Good information which tells the rider exactly how long their journey will be extended by is one key thing, as it constructing temporary bus rail schedules that are robust, reliably and minimize the extra time spent transferring between the bus and the train and vice versa.

Sadly, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) falls short on many aspects of disruption planning, leading to frustrating experiences for riders and, in the case of disruption on the A Line, missed flights.

From a lack of information…

Riders waiting for an A Line train which won’t come at Union Station in June 2022. Replacement bus services were departing from the bus concourse below, but there was virtually no staff or signage nearby to tell them about this.
An RTD ‘A frame’ sign at Union Station giving information about planned disruption on the A Line in October 2022.

…to inaccurate displays…

An electronic display at Union Station in June 2022. As well as the typo, the display is telling riders that replacement buses are departing from in front of the station, when in actual fact they were leaving from the bus concourse below.
Another typo in a display at Union Station. This picture was taken at 7:25pm with the display saying that the 9pm A Line train was cancelled & that the next train was 10:30pm. The reality was that the 7:30pm, 9pm & 9:30pm trains were cancelled, but the 8pm, 8:30pm, 10pm & 10:30pm trains were running.

…undefined waits…

Riders who have come from Denver Airport wait for a replacement bus to complete their journeys to Union station in June 2022. Due to no published temporary bus schedules, most have no idea how long it will be before the bus comes.
Riders who have come from Denver Airport wait for a replacement bus to complete their journeys to Union station in June 2022. Multiple complaints were received from this location about RTD street supervisors who remained in their vehicles & didn’t assist riders with information.

…and clear breaches of rail safety…

Riders are forced to ignore pedestrian grade crossing warnings to cross the tracks to get to the replacement bus services at 38th / Blake station in June 2022. No assistance was provided to guide the riders in this situation.
The same scenario, this time at 40th / Airport – Gateway Park station in September 2022. This is a huge safety issue and goes against everything campaigns such as Operation Lifesaver say.

We call on RTD to initiate a full and comprehensive review with their commuter rail system concessionaire, Denver Transit Operators (DTO), of the current temporary service disruption arrangements from a safety and rider experience standpoint. The negative experiences being reported by riders are a huge discouragement to use transit, particular when they occur on the A Line, which for many riders is their only experience of using RTD.

Our letter to RTD…

On Sep 9th, 2022, Greater Denver Transit sent a letter to RTD outlining our concerns with a planned disruption event on the A Line scheduled for 13th / 14th September.

…and RTD’s response.

To RTD’s credit, the agency responded within one working day and took the time to addresses each of our concerns.

As seen on #RTDDisruption.