DENVER, CO - APRIL 17: A driver assists two riders on the wheelchair ramp as they board the westbound RTD D-Line Light Rail train at the Colfax at Auraria Station on April 17, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo By Kathryn Scott)

The Regional Transportation District has opened a survey of its riders to gauge how the eight-county service area intends to use public transit as COVID-19 related stay-at-home orders expire.

“RTD is formulating its recovery plan and wants to know what will give its riders more of a comfort level to hop aboard buses and trains,” the agency said in a statement. RTD implemented pandemic service on April 19, cutting routes by roughly 40% of normal service as ridership declined by approximately 75%.

The survey, which is available in English and Spanish, asks respondents for their opinion on the safety of engaging in various public activities, including riding transit. It also allows for a free response to the question of how RTD can make passengers feel safer. The survey closes on Sunday, May 10.

“We’ve been trained to think of ridership as a measure of public transit’s success, but now, with most of our ridership gone, we’re expected to keep running service,” wrote Jarrett Walker, a transit consultant, in the May issue of the American Public Transportation Association’s Passenger Transport magazine. “As we emerge from the chaos of the sudden onset of the pandemic and begin planning for the long recovery, we must seize the opportunity to start a new conversation about public transit’s goals.”

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