DENVER (CBS4) – The new Regional Transportation District A Line commuter train from downtown to Denver International Airport is operating to the delight of many, but demonstrators interrupted the opening ceremonies Friday in a protest over price.
It costs $9 to ride the A Line, which is good for all day. But some say compared to other cities, that price is too high. The protesters also say it’s not just the new train to DIA that they have a problem with and the ceremony for the new A Line gave them a platform to be heard.
Many of the approximately 20 people who held up signs were from a group called 9to5 Colorado, an organization dedicated to assisting working women. The group argues that RTD doesn’t have affordable fares for low-income workers.
“Did you spoil RTD’s party?” CBS4’s Rick Sallinger asked Andrea Chiriboga-Flora with 9to5.
“We intentionally disrupted (the ceremony) because those are our targets, those are the people that can make these decisions and get that program going,” Chiriboga-Flora replied.
Police escorted the protesters away, although no one was arrested.
RTD Assistant General Manager Scott Reed was not pleased with the protest.
“I thought it was extremely inappropriate because what they were talking about is actually something that they know is not 100 percent correct,” Reed said.
Reed said they have been trying to work with the protest group, but they have not been cooperative.
Last week CBS4 reported that Denver’s downtown to airport fare is more expensive than most other cities based on a single trip. Zoe Williams with 9to5 agreed when asked, “What do you think of a $9 fare to the airport?”
“I think it is high, especially for the workers there,” Williams said. “I’m also concerned about just the daily fares of $2.60 to get to work, to get to a doctor’s appointment, to get to child care and the grocery store.”
Her group has published a report critical of the transit system pricing called, “Left at the Station.”
RTD says millions of dollars have been designated for low-income riders. Reed added the $9 can go much further.
“The $9 fare that RTD offers is a round-trip fare. It also allows people to go anywhere within the RTD system within that service day,” Reed said.
He pointed out the day pass is good until past 3 a.m. the following day, which should help workers going to and from DIA.
RTD says it tried to meet with the protesters the spot Friday, but the protesters didn’t feel that was the appropriate time or place.
LINK: 9to5 Colorado