DENVER (CBS4) – More RTD layoffs happened this week due to cutbacks due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the concern is what those layoffs will mean for riders.
“Notifications are happening, between [Wednesday] and Saturday,” Pauletta Tonilas, RTD Assistant General Manager of Communications said.
Federal relief money from the CARES Act helped RTD reduce layoffs, however, it couldn’t stop them altogether. That potentially means continued frustration for riders who were already upset before the pandemic began.
“The way their buses are now, it’s like a mind game,” one rider said.
RTD told CBS4, the lack of revenue from 2020 has set them up with a $140 million deficit.
“We have a responsibility to balance our budget and the good thing is the CARES Act funding that we previously received from the federal government has been what’s allowed us to keep people employed through 2020,” Tonilas explained.
The Amalgamated Transit Union wants layoffs delayed until the second stimulus package.
“This time last year we were moving into service cuts purely based on the district’s mismanagement of funds and their inability to maintain people,” Lance Longenbohn, ATU 1001 President said.
RTD had a budget shortfall then, too. As for this next round of stimulus money, RTD just doesn’t know how much to expect.
“So, we’re looking forward to that, but it is too early for us to tell the impact that will have on us and how many people we will be able to bring back to RTD,” Tonilas explained.
The Union argued the layoffs may be happening as people are finally able to go back to work.
“You know operator shortage, people standing at bus stops, train stops waiting for buses and trains that aren’t coming, then the people who are here are forced to work 6 days a week,” Longenbohn added.
While changes are planned for Sunday, RTD said it would review its routes and adjust, as necessary.