The meeting opened with a listening session on transit needs and service changes conducted by RTD staff, Lindsey Alarcon and Jessie Carter to obtain feedback on transit needs and service changes. The following questions and responses were discussed:
What transit needs in your community should RTD be aware of?
DCLCC: Please continue to use extended buses on the 0 and 15.
RTD: The 15 does provide one of the highest use lines.
DCLCC: Love to be able to get a copy of the PowerPoint; work with the disability community and they do have compromised immune system. Hearing from consumers if it is safe to use public transportation right now. Appreciate that specific slide. Will there be a public listening session as well?
RTD: Can send additional information as well. There will be some public outreach in March.
DCLCC: As a mom of 3 college students who used to use light rail to get to campus downtown, they can no longer trust that this will be available. Using C/D lines. Safety in travel training is a big issue for our clients as well.
RTD: Our utilization is very low on commuter bus and rail, lower than the 40th percentile; hard to justify increased service right now.
DCLCC: Can we get TSOs/ security to take rides to help enforce mask mandate?
RTD: We have to figure out priority, and direct contact with customers is not happening right now.
DCLCC: From outreach with Sun Valley we learned we need more campaigns showing that transit is safe. Youth are being told not to ride transit due to safety concerns and ride programs have been set up to avoid using transit in order to get to school (choicing into school outside of the neighborhood).
DCLCC: Front line workers are still important to consider.
DCLCC: People are understanding that service changes were necessary but lines like the 15 and 16 help front line workers get to and from work.
DCLCC: Were we able measure ridership levels when RTD was free (brief period during pandemic) vs. charging again?
RTD: Yes, we have a chart showing ridership from April 19th to end of January 2021; ridership has sharp decline after April 19th; was a time period where transit was free and COVID restrictions were not as restrictive as they were in the fall; free rides had their own security challenges so that would be something to consider if go back to that model.
DCLCC: How do you avoid the stalemate waiting for riders to return versus RTD increasing service?
RTD: Challenges with having operators available when need to add capacity to certain lines when buses are full; balancing act.
What feedback do you have about the overall transit service in your community?
DCLCC: We need to know where proposed changes listed so that the information can be taken back to the community.
DCLCC: I see a lot of people using transit in Montbello. Our department has been doing community engagement about microtransit options and what the community would like to see in their community. DOTI pilot for the circulator will last for at least 1 year in Montbello.
There was discussion of next steps in regard to the Sun Valley project to make transit a more attractive option for youth. How to proceed with engaging youth in the area – particularly the youth from the Sun Valley Youth Center was a significant topic. Additionally, DCLCC Chair Jyotsna Kahttri gave a report on her attendance at the Montbello Freshlo Partners as an initial step toward engagement with that community.