Public Transportation RTD Light Rail Tram in Downtown Denver Colorado

The Regional Transportation District, citing a desire to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, will limit loitering in Denver Union Station’s bus concourse to 10 minutes.

“Patrons inside the RTD Bus Concourse at Union Station should board the first available bus to their destination,” the agency announced. RTD said that the change is “in the interest of public health and safety,” referencing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that gatherings of 50 or more people be curtailed in the interest of halting contagion.

RTD’s code of conduct contains 19 rules on the occupancy of agency property, such as prohibitions generally on animals and weapons. “Occupying any facility for more than 2 hours in a 24-hour period” is also prohibited, “unless such extended occupancy is due to delay in transit service.”

The American Public Transportation Association did not immediately return a request for comment about whether other agencies have implemented similar restrictions.

The Verge reports that several U.S. transit agencies are experiencing a drop in ridership amid cancellation of events and prompts from the government for people to work from home. The New York City subway had nearly 19% fewer riders than this time one year ago, and San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit agency saw a drop of 35%.

As of Monday afternoon, RTD had not yet assessed whether there had been any changes in ridership compared to a similar period last year.

The agency disclosed that its dispatch center fielded 689 "trespassing" calls at Union Station during 2019, although it was not apparent how many involved the two-hour loitering limit.

Benjamin Dunning of Denver Homeless Out Loud said that individuals experiencing homelessness tend to use the bus concourse in the same way that other passengers do — to go someplace — and consequently he has not heard of authorities targeting that demographic.

"In fact, we are learning of resources that have been available for some time that could have been made available in the past that now, due to the virus, are being made available" to the homeless population, he said.

Editor's note: This story has been updated.

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