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RTD suspends fares, implements rear-door boarding

RTD will begin rear-door boarding and suspend fares April 5 to provide distance between operators and passengers.

COLORADO, USA — The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is implementing rear-door boarding, suspending all bus, light rail and train fares and halting 16th Street Mall shuttle service effective Sunday, April 5.

> The video above aired March 24 and looks at when RTD approved service cuts due to COVID-19.

"Rear-door boarding provides for distance between operators and the public, mitigating known circumstances of infection – namely, close proximity to those who might be infected," RTD said in a news release.

Beginning at the start of the service day on Sunday and until further notice:

  • RTD will switch to rear-door boarding and exiting on most buses, which provides another layer of social distancing between operators and riders. Passengers with disabilities should continue to board RTD vehicles at the front, where a wheelchair lift is available, if needed. RTD’s over-the-road coaches used on Regional routes have front doors only. So, those passengers will still board and deboard from the front. 
  • Fare collection will be suspended on all buses and trains across the RTD system. The agency is working through processes for refunds and exchanges on applicable fare products.
  • Service will be suspended on two downtown Denver bus routes, the 16thStreet Free MallRide and Free MetroRide, which have experienced low ridership. 
  • RTD will move as many of the MallRide buses as possible to regular routes, to take advantage of the ability of these buses to offer multiple-door boarding and exiting. In addition, drivers on MallRide buses work in an enclosed compartment that provides separation from passengers. 

“It’s important that we be strategic and practical in our operational changes, not reactionary, so our team will continue to monitor information as it emerges, be nimble and make decisions that we deem to be the most prudent and responsible," said RTD Interim General Manager and CEO Paul Ballard.

Being mindful of social distancing, RTD has been monitoring passenger loads on its bus and rail services. Bus operators seeing larger crowds forming along their route have been asked to call bus dispatch so that additional buses can be deployed as they are available.

RTD also asks that the public use judgment in deciding whether to board vehicles, depending upon the number of passengers already on them. The agency is installing signage on buses and trains asking riders to respect social distancing, which is everyone’s responsibility.

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