For the fourth straight day, the Regional Transportation District has suspended bus, light rail and commuter rail service into downtown Denver as the unrest caused by the police murder of Minneapolis man George Floyd roils the city.
“RTD made this decision out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety of its employees and riders due to the unpredictable and destructive nature of the protests,” the agency warned passengers. The protests, which began on Thursday and continued through Sunday, were largely peaceful during the day. However, vandalism from rioters and use of tear gas from police generally characterized the chaos after the city’s 8 p.m. curfew.
At least one member of RTD’s board of directors directly criticized the service adjustment.
“My Aunt is transit dependent and works at the Airport. She has been unable to get to work, on public transit, due to @RideRTD suspension of service,” wrote Director Shontel M. Lewis, District B, on Twitter. “So no. I don’t agree with the closure. Some protest. Some are making a living.”
Director Jeff Walker, District D, responded that there would be repercussions either way for passengers, and wondered about lingering chemicals from the spray used by police potentially entering buses had they continued into downtown.
“It’s one thing for folks who are willing to accept or expect that. It’s another to get caught up in it by surprise. How could anybody justify that?” he wrote.
As part of the service change, Union Station and Civic Center Station are closed. Light rail terminates at the 10th and Osage station and Empower Field at Mile High station, depending on the route. The A Line to Denver International Airport will not travel west of the Central Park station.