By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4) – The Regional Transportation District will begin service changes on Sunday. RTD service will change to Saturday bus service levels and Sunday light rail service levels in response to a significant decrease in ridership resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

(credit: CBS)

Denver Transit Operators will also adjust service on two of the three commuter rail lines. Frequency on the B Line, which serves Denver and Westminster, will change to every hour, from every 30 minutes. Trains on the G Line, serving Denver, Adams County, Arvada and Wheat Ridge, will run every 30 minutes, as opposed to every 15 minutes.

Current service levels will continue on RTD’s University of Colorado A Line, which connects downtown Denver and Denver International Airport. RTD officials said the A Line is important for airport employees and those who must fly in and out of DIA.

RTD has taken several steps to ensure social distancing across the system, including limiting the number of riders to approximately 15 passengers per bus, 20 on larger buses and 30 on rail cars. Fares will be waived on all buses and trains, passengers will move to rear-door boarding and exiting on its buses, and the MallRide and MetroRide will move to other routes.

The following changes will be in effect beginning at the start of the service day on Sunday, and until further notice:

  • RTD will switch to rear-door boarding and exiting on its buses, which provides another layer of social distancing between operators and riders, limiting proximity to those who might be infected. Passengers with disabilities should continue to board RTD vehicles at the front, where a wheelchair lift is available, if needed. RTD’s over-the-road coaches used on Regional routes have front doors only. So, those passengers will still board and deboard from the front.
  • Fare collection will be suspended on all buses and trains across the RTD system. RTD is working through processes for refunds and exchanges on applicable fare products.
  • Service will be suspended on two downtown Denver routes, the 16th Street Free MallRide and Free MetroRide, which have experienced low ridership.
  • RTD will move as many of the MallRide buses as possible to regular routes, to take advantage of the ability of these buses to offer multiple-door boarding and exiting. In addition, drivers on MallRide buses work in an enclosed compartment that provides separation from passengers.

Service changes represent about a 40% reduction from current levels. RTD will continue to evaluate ridership and service needs and reinstate service across its system as demand warrants and ridership returns. As service is restored, changes will move from Saturday and Sunday service to the service levels outlined in the May service change.

A complete list of service changes is on the COVID-19 service plan webpage.

RELATED: Latest Updates On The Coronavirus Outbreak In Colorado

Audra Streetman

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