RTD Proposes R Line Service Cut Backs

By Melissa Garcia

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– The Regional Transportation District is proposing a reduction in service along Aurora’s new R Line.

The line runs 22 miles from Lincoln Avenue in Lone Tree through the heart of Aurora near the Anschutz Medical Campus to Peoria near Smith Road.

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The cut would do away with service to the south half of the route on weekends and on weekday off-peak hours.

It was a cold day in February when Aurora celebrated the opening of the route that was years in the making.

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Less than seven months into its operation, the line linking Colorado’s third largest city with its neighbors may soon see a major setback.

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RTD management recommends running the R Line’s south stretch, from Iliff to Lincoln Avenues, only during its busiest hours during the week. That would mean eliminating service on the stretch on Saturdays, Sundays and weekdays during the midday hours.

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“That would be really disappointing,” said Moustafa Karim, who takes the R Line to get from home to school. “I’ve got to leave home at twelve and be there by 2 p.m. So, I have to take the R Line to get to my school. If there is no R Line, I’m going to have to drive there. And I don’t have a car, so I can’t really do that right now.”

“It is unacceptable,” said Steve Hogan, Mayor of the City of Aurora.

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CBS4’s Melissa Garcia interviews Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan (credit: CBS)

Hogan felt strongly opposed to RTD’s plan to limit the route. He said that more than 1,000 homes under construction and another 2,500 homes in the works, were depending on the R Line’s full schedule.

“If we have to tell them service has been cut back? That’s not a good message, Hogan told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.

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Nate Currey, a spokesman for RTD said that the R Line had not been keeping up with transit performance standards.

On average, the A Line boards around 200 passengers per hour, according to the graph provided by Currey. The C and D Lines board about 160 passengers per hour. The R Line boards far fewer passengers at just 38 per hour.

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CBS4’s Melissa Garcia interviews RTD’s Nate Currey (credit: CBS)

“We look at it from a holistic, regional perspective,” Currey said. “And if people aren’t riding it, we’re spending a lot of money on it to where we could be actually going places where we see people need to go.”

By reducing R Line service as proposed, RTD will save about 15,000 hours of operation and close to $3 million per year.

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RTD will hold a public comment session during its upcoming meeting on Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Aurora municipal building.

The transit district’s board will make a decision on the proposal in October.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.

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