On Monday, the Transportation Legislative Review Committee heard about the Regional Transportation District’s proposed service cuts, as well as their effect on customers with disabilities.
“Without RTD, our ability to really reap the promises of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which turns 30 next year, is gone,” said Julie Reiskin, executive director of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, as reported by CPR.
“Because we can't get to work, we can't get out, we can't go spend money in the community, we can't get to medical care. Transportation is really the key to independence and full community participation.”
Due to a shortage of bus and rail operators, RTD is looking at temporarily reducing service as early as 2020 to cut back on mandated overtime for existing employees. The transit system is already forced to drop runs due to short staffing.
RTD’s presentation to the committee referenced “low unemployment impacting [the] labor force nationwide,” and stated that “[f]atigue is affecting quality of life and safety.”
The agency said that their system-wide service availability — the amount of time that routes run as advertised — is 99% for buses, 98% for light rail and 98% for commuter rail. Commuter routes operate under a public-private partnership and are not part of anticipated cutbacks.
Reiskin said that Access-A-Ride, RTD’s door-to-door bus service for disabled customers, has combined trips recently due to the driver shortage. An RTD spokesperson could not confirm whether that was the case.