RTD scales back proposed service cuts for "R" and "W" lines

Posted at 11:09 PM, Oct 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-18 01:09:08-04

DENVER -- Faced with growing furor over proposed cuts to the "R" and "W" light rail lines, RTD is scaling back on its proposal.

The transportation agency says ridership isn't meeting projections on either line.

"R" line ridership levels

RTD statistics show that that 4,694 riders use the "R" line Monday through Thursday. 4,786 use it on Friday, and only 2,812 use it on Sunday.

The trains run every 15 minutes.  RTD now proposes that service be reduced to one train every 30 minutes on weekends between Peoria Station and Lincoln Avenue.

Aurora City Councilman - At Large, Bob LeGare, is not a fan of the new proposal.

"RTD should be spending money on promoting and advertising the fact that this line exists," he said. "They shouldn't be shutting it down or reducing service in the first six months of operation."

LeGare, who chairs the council's Transportation Policy Committee, told Denver7, that many people don't know you can get on light rail in the southern part of the city and take the "R" line to Peoria Station and then and go to DIA.

He added that the committee voted unanimously that there shouldn't be any cuts at all.

LeGare also said there is a great deal of development, either planned or underway, along the "R" line.

"Iliff Station has hundreds of apartments and housing units coming on line," he said. "The Fitzsimons Campus has hundreds more. The Abilene Station has a hotel and apartments being planned."

LeGare said that development will translate into more light rail riders.

"RTD should back off and talk to us in two years, if the ridership is not up after they've done an aggressive marketing campaign."

"W" line ridership levels

Out west, quite a few more people use the "W" line during peak travel periods on week days, but there is a dramatic drop-off on Sundays.

RTD statistics show 14,528 riders board the "W" line Monday through Thursday.  12,327 ride it on Fridays, and just 6,839 ride it on Sundays.

Trains currently run every 15 minutes, but RTD is now proposing running trains every 30 minutes during evenings, Monday through Saturday, and all-day Sunday, on the stretch of line from the Federal Center to the Jefferson County Justice Center.


"That would wreck things for me," said light rail passenger Jennifer Gutierrez. "I use this line twice a week to see my daughter.  It's not that bad waiting 15 minutes, but waiting 30 minutes, that definitely would cut into my time with my daughter."

"We hate to see the cut back, which will further reduce ridership, in our mind, as opposed to marketing it so we can increase ridership." said Steve Glueck, director of Golden Community and Economic Development. "

Glueck told Denver7 that Golden has invested money to improve connections to the light rail station at the Jefferson County Justice Center.

"The Call and Ride is one of RTD's most successful circulators," he said.

Glueck said they offered a compromise to RTD, maintaining the 15-minute service Monday through Saturday during the day, and making the cuts in the evening and on Sunday.

That's what RTD is now proposing.

The RTD Board will likely take up the proposal at its next regularly scheduled meeting, October 24.