Skip to main content
Colorado General AssemblyToggle Main Menu
Agency NameToggle Agency Menu

F1E308A4BA20CDF3872584A1005D97A0 Hearing Summary


Date Oct 28, 2019      
Location Old State Library

Presentation from RTD - Committee Discussion Only

11:02:18 AM  

Doug Tisdale, representing the Regional Transportation District (RTD) provided an update to the committee.  He distributed a copy of his presentation (Attachment A).  Mr. Tisdale started with a history of RTD, indicating that this is RTD's 50 year anniversary.  He noted that RTD has 140 fixed bus routes, 99 miles of rail, 8 light rail lines, 3 commuter rail lines, 1 bus rapid transit line, 10,000 bus stops, 80 plus Park-n-Ride locations, and 3,000 employees. He stated that district is 2,400 square miles and serves three million people within the district.

He also noted that the G Line, from Denver Union Station to Wheat Ridge, opened earlier this year on April 26. An extension to the Ridgegate Station was opened for rail lines E,F, and R on May 17, 2019. A $92 million Small Start Grant helped develop the extension sooner.

He also stated that bus routes run 80 percent on time and that light rail lines run 91 percent on time. He noted that the train to the plane, the A line, runs 95 to 96 percent on time.  Mr. Tisdale indicated that employees are working overtime to run services, as there is an operator shortage.

11:12:43 AM  

Dave Genova, representing RTD, provided information about the operator shortage. The committe and Mr. Genova discussed the impacts of the shortage.  Mr. Genova stated that to deal with this issue, 791 bus operators were hired over the last 33 months. Light rail operators were also hired, including 777 employees.   He noted however that a  temporary service reduction may occur in the future and that feedback about service reductions is currently being gathered from stakeholders.

11:16:25 AM  

Mr. Genova responded to questions about service reductions. There was a discussion about strategies to fully staff lines. Mr. Genova stated that RTD may start working with temporary agencies to provide operators, utilizing folks who have worked on similar equipment.

11:20:25 AM  

Mr. Genova continued by stating that outreach will occur to folks before service reductions go into effect.  He noted that the board has committed to temporary reductions and will bring full service back at a later time.

11:22:07 AM  

Mr. Genova continued to provide updates, including information about safety testing. He noted that horns will be used until safety measures are approved. Mr. Genova also presented information about the N line completion to North Thornton Highway 7. He noted that wireless grade crossings are being tested and that there is no official date for opening yet.

11:26:36 AM  

Mr. Genova responded to questions about the N line, including operations and shortages. He noted that RTD is drawing from the same labor pool as contractors currently operating lines.

11:28:07 AM  

Mr. Genova responded to questions about Fastracks projects and stated that project is about 70 percent complete. There are four unfinished remaining corridors, including the B line, Boulder/Longmont; N line, north metro to State Highway 7; C/D line extensions to Highlands Ranch; and L line, extension to 38th Avenue and Blake Street. He stated that these projects require $2.0 billion in funding and that RTD stafff is developing an unfinished corridor report.

11:31:28 AM  

Mr. Genova continued by discussion transportation-oriented development and noted that development has created increased values for office properties, Denver Union Station, and multifamily properties.

He also noted that transit fares may be purchased on the Uber and Lyft apps, and trips involving transit may be planned on the apps. He also stated that youth discount fare programs are being implemented, in addition to fare reductions for low income individuals through the LiVE program.

In response to questions, he stated that RTD is also focused on electrification, including electric zero emission buses on the 16th Street Mall. Planning for the 16th Street Mall project continues with construction beginning in 2020. Other improvements include the 15L bus route, with efficiencies and new shelters. RTD has a new way to communicate news about RTD, News Stop.

11:37:19 AM  

Mr. Genova continued by discussing the planning for the future of RTD.  He noted that the population continues to increase equating to more congestion and funding challenges.  However, there are new technologies on the horizon which may assist with efforts.  RTD created a new program, Reimagine RTD, to reimagine and redesign the mobility of the future.  Current services will be evaluated, as well as projects on the horizon.

11:38:59 AM  

In response to a committee question, Mr. Genova stated that the starting wage is $20 per hour for operators. The salary tops out at $25 per hour. Incentives include $2 per hour for a split shift. An addition $2 per hour is provided for over time. The committee also discussed partnerships with trade schools to provide additional operators and mechanics. Mr. Genova noted that RTD will pay for a commercial driver's license.

11:42:04 AM  

Mr. Genova discussed the employee shortage, especially the drug test requirement. He stated that RTD is subject to federal drug and alcohol requirements which include pre-employment, random, and post-accident testing.

11:43:40 AM  

Mr. Genova responded to questions about pressure on Park-n-Rides, especially riders from outside the district parking in the lots. He stated that popular corridors are 100 percent utilized on a daily basis and that those living outside of the district are charged $4.00 per day to park. Extended stay parking is $2.00 per day if cars are left in the lot longer.

11:45:05 AM  

Mr. Genova responded to questions about the 16th Street Mall project. The commitee discussed paver material. Mr. Genova stated that maintenance is expensive for the pavers and there is concern about the slippery nature of the pavers, as well as drainage.

11:46:49 AM  

Mr. Genova responded to questions about alternatives to grow the transportation system. He noted that a regional bus rapid transit study was completed, including routes and funding and that the Colfax corridor is being considered for this option.

11:48:06 AM  

Mr. Genova responded to federal funding questions and stated that projects related to the Capital Grant program have been successful, as that is how 20 percent of projects are funded.