Aurora residents upset with proposed cuts to R Line services

AURORA, Colo. -- The City of Aurora has invested millions to improve the areas around the new R line, which helped make it easier for commuters to get downtown or to DIA. But now after only a few months, RTD is considering cutting back on those services because the train is not getting as many riders as expected.

Thursday, RTD officials and the City of Aurora had a public meeting to explain why they are considering the changes and to hear how this might impact people.

RTD Spokesperson Nate Currey explained Thursday that the proposed changes are only being considered during off-peak times.

“That saves resources for us, and again, it doesn’t make sense for us to run empty trains down to Lincoln if no one’s riding it,” said Currey.

“If you just do simple addition, Light Rail R has over three times the ridership of Light Rail Line C,” said one resident during Thursday’s meeting.

DD Thompson, an R Line rider, has found it extremely beneficial for her commute to downtown Denver.

“I actually made it a lot easier, especially now that I have a brand new job in Aurora. I’m able to get from Denver to Aurora in less than an hour,” said Thompson.

Another rider was disappointed to hear the frequency of the services could change.

 “I don’t feel too good about it because that’s my transportation to get to work. So, I hope it doesn’t get shut down that’s for sure,” said David Horehlad.

“There’s that challenge narratively that we are cutting, we are actually not,” said Currey. “So off-peak, we are looking to change it to where people are going. So from Peoria through Aurora and turning it into the H line down in Denver or just keeping it in the Aurora area itself.”

“I think it’s kind of premature because it hasn’t even been a full year yet,” said Thompson.

It’s unclear if the weekend services will cease altogether, as those times are considered off-peak.

“It does seem a little bit quick. I think to take a look at the numbers, they’re just not even hitting our service standards that our elected board set,” said Currey.

Currey also mentioned that changes to light rail lines could happen as often as three times a year, depending on where people are traveling and where the need is.

“The investment is here; the infrastructure is here. We are not ripping up the rails,” said Currey.

Thursday’s meeting was just to hear the community out. RTD officials have said the cuts, which if approved at the Oct. 17 meeting would take effect next year.

The spokesperson said if in the future, if there turned out to be more need for that R line to continue to Lone Tree, they could adjust.

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