Public Transportation Bus Driving Downtown Denver Colorado (copy)

An RTD bus in Denver.

As the Regional Transportation District slashes bus and light rail service in response to the raging coronavirus pandemic that’s wrecked its ridership, the agency is rolling out new services to help its most vulnerable passengers and keep its drivers employed.

Grocery delivery service, as of Monday, is now available to customers of RTD’s Access-a-Ride, which provides local bus transportation in the Denver metro area for people with disabilities.

The service will be provided during the coronavirus crisis and offer current Access-a-Ride customers with a free food delivery option that doesn’t require them to leave their house, the transit agency said in a Monday news release. No fare is required for existing customers.

“We are well aware that during a state of emergency, one of the first things people can lose access to is food,” Paul Hamilton, senior manager of paratransit services, said in a statement. “When the public is being told to reduce their exposure to others, the last thing we want to do is ask them to leave their homes if they don’t have to.”

Five food providers — King Soopers, Safeway, Community Ministry Southwest food bank, Senior Hub Senior Solutions and Adams County Food Bank — are currently participating to allow grocery pickup from their locations. RTD will update its website as more grocery stores and food banks are added.

Customers interested in using the service must call either the grocer or food bank directly, or visit their website online, to place a grocery order and schedule pickup time.

Once an order has been placed and a pickup time has been established, customers must call Access-a-Ride at 303-292-6560 and book a trip to pick up groceries at the scheduled time.

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RTD drivers will not be allowed to step inside customers’ home nor leave groceries on the front door of an unattended address.

The transit agency is discouraging the ordering of frozen food, as some orders may be on board for over an hour.

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