Denver Post: RTD riders demand return of west side express bus service
On May 15 the Denver Post reported:
Some long-time Regional Transportation District customers are angry that their express bus service was dumped in favor of the newly opened W light rail line. …
With the W Line’s debut, however, RTD officials decided to close six express bus routes that operated on the west side. One was the 100X, which Shari Janata took from her Lakewood home to her job in downtown Denver for five years. …
The agency will listen to customers who want their old routes back, said RTD spokesman Scott Reed. “We are looking at impacts on people’s commute times and to see if it makes sense to reinstate any routes.”
Cancelling these routes allows RTD to claim more ridership on light rail. As Randal O’Toole writes in the Denver Post:
RTD’s predictions of how many riders the West Rail Line will carry — and therefore how much congestion it will relieve — have greatly declined. In 2003, RTD predicted 29,100 west line riders per weekday in its first year of operation. Now, it predicts just 19,300. If the train carries 19,400 riders, RTD will likely claim it exceeded expectations when it actually fell one-third short.
Even that level of ridership will be achieved because RTD is canceling six express bus routes, herding riders to the slower and more expensive train. Daily commute times for some riders will increase by 40 minutes or more, RTD board member Natalie Menten told us. “I am getting a ton of calls and e-mails complaining about elimination or reduction. One person alone sent me a scanned petition with about 50 rider signatures from just one route,” Menten said. Many riders “stated they’ll just drive instead of enduring the extra hours they face away from home or family.”