RTD Updates & Regional Impacts

The start of 2018 has been busy for the Regional Transportation District (RTD). Between union contract negotiations and working on connecting the region, there’s a lot to be excited about with RTD.

RTD & Transit Union Reach an Agreement

On March 10, the RTD and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001 signed a three-year contract providing bus drivers and train engineers pay raises, better benefits and better working conditions designed to recruit and maintain employees.

The contract includes the largest pay increase RTD operators have ever received over the 48-year history of the company. Drivers and train engineers will receive a pay raise of 8% in 2018, increasing the starting hourly wage from $17.59 to $19.40. In addition to pay raises, RTD will also contribute an additional $6.2 million more a year to retirement funds and $1,000 towards individual employee’s health benefits over the course of the contract.

Currently, RTD is understaffed by roughly 140 operators, resulting in bus route inefficiencies throughout the region. By offering competitive benefits and higher wages, RTD is taking an important step to recruit and retain more bus drivers and train engineers.

RTD Hosts Telephone Town Halls

Throughout the end of March and beginning of April, RTD staff and District Directors hosted telephone town halls in each district served by RTD to provide transit updates and answer questions from their constituents.

Recently a staff member from Commuting Solutions participated in the District I Telephone Town Hall, led by RTD District I Director Judy Lubow. The town hall focused on addressing the issues impacting the Lafayette, Longmont and Broomfield communities. The primary issue addressed in the town hall was the unfulfilled promises of the Northwest Rail Line, which now has a projected construction date of 2042. Director Lubow addressed the lack of funding and current efforts to get the line operational sooner. This includes only operating during peak service hours, finding alternative sources of funding or reducing costs. Town Halls for District O, District J and District L also took place with Director Chuck Sisk, Director Larry Hoy and Director Lorraine Anderson for our region. Staff members from Commuting Solutions’ participated in the town halls for District O and District J.

SH 119 Graphic provided courtesy of RTD

In the meantime, RTD will continue to move forward with the State Highway 119 study and eventual implementation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in this corridor, pending funding availability. BRT differs from a normal RTD service in that there are less stops, enhanced buses to provide ease of entry, dedicated bus lanes, stations, branding, technology improvements and high frequency service.  It is important to note that this project is not a replacement for Northwest Rail but a solution to help alleviate congestion issues until the rail can be completed.

RTD G-Line Rail and A-Line Gets the Green Light

RTD recently received the go-ahead from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to begin the testing and certification of the G-Line, connecting Union Station in Denver to Arvada and Wheat Ridge. Train traffic between these stations will gradually increase during the testing phase.

The CPUC also approved removing the gate attendants from crossings along the G-Line as well as the University of Colorado A-Line since the wireless crossing activation buffer times have been accepted which indicates that the A and G Line crossings are operating correctly.

RTD and local governments are working together to establish quiet zones in the areas around these lines.

Wrapping It Up

Commuting Solutions is excited about these updates and the progress RTD will implement to alleviate congestion in the Northwest Metro Region and to provide mobility choices. We will continue to stay engaged with RTD and will provide more updates as the conversations continue to evolve and mature

 

Top image courtesy of RTD