DENVER (CBS4) – Paul Ballard, the new interim head of RTD, checked his system out, including the free mall bus, on Tuesday.
“This is working really well. We have a good bus load full of folks, maybe next time I won’t have a drink that’s been spilled on the floor, get it cleaned up faster,” he told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger who rode along.
With a driver shortage, trips being canceled and ridership down it’s not hard to find
passengers with gripes.
“RTD’s crazy. There’s not enough workers. The workers they do have, some of them are rude, not very professional,” one woman at a bus stop complained.
Ballard wants RTD employees to stay with their jobs making retention a top priority.
“We can make sure they can be treated the way we want to be treated,” he said.
He comes to RTD after heading the system in Fort Worth, Texas. There he oversaw the building of a commuter line from downtown to the DFW airport. He comes to a system that faces troubles.
“I don’t feel it’s a crisis. I’m here on day two,” he said.
But he added if people feel it’s a crisis, for them it is.
One rider’s crisis is standing in the cold at an uncovered bus stop.
“When the snow comes there’s no shelter,” he complained.
Ballard has been told he may be in Denver for anywhere from four to 14 months while the board searches for a new general manager. He doesn’t want the job long-term, but is looking for some quick fixes.
“We are working all the time to improve what we do, and I think you’ll see some measurable improvement over next few months,” he predicted.
For the bus and train riders of RTD, there’s no time to lose.