DENVER — All trips on Regional Transportation District (RTD) buses, trains, Access-a-Rides and FlexRides will be free during the month of August.
In addition, 30 other transit agencies from across Colorado are also poised to waive fares to their entire systems.
With Colorado's peak ozone season looming, RTD hopes these free fares will encourage more new riders to take public transit, thus reducing the number of cars on the roads.
According to RTD, they will continue to operate under their current service plan for the duration of the initiative. Adjustments (such as added rail cars or extra buses) will be made as necessary to meet the increased demand.
The one-month pilot program will be managed by the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies (CASTA) in partnership with the Colorado Energy Office and is made possible with funding from Colorado Senate Bill 22-180. According to the bill's language, the money obtained from the bill can be used to cover lost fare box revenues and to pay for other expenses as necessary to implement the program.
"Now that all eyes are on public transit, we can really get more funding and we can get to world-class here pretty soon," Paolo Solorzano, a regular RTD rider and the founder of the RTD Rider's Alliance, said
The RTD Rider's Alliance is a recently-formed community group that has teamed up with Green Latino to push for riders' voices in RTD's decision-making process.
"This city is growing so much, and it's going to take [riders'] input, so it's pretty simple," Solorzano said.
Transit reliability, access and affordability are problems the Rider's Alliance eventually wants to take on. But for organizers, a month of free rides is a decent starting point for people who heavily rely on the transit system.
"If you're month-to-month right now with your bills, this month might actually give you those extra $200 that you need to do that really important thing you've been holding off," he said. "The resources are just there. We need to take it to the next level."
August will also see half-price fares on Bustang, Outrider and Pegasus buses operated by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). That means anyone living in the RTD region could visit Grand Junction for $21.50, Vail for $8.50, Fort Collins for $5, Colorado Springs for $6, Buena Vista for $12 and Durango for $43. The half-off promotion ends Sept. 5.
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