The proposed Regional Transportation District (RTD) fare hikes have been challenged by community members and those who work for social justice. A fare increase of $2.60 per ride and a monthly pass increase from $79 to $104 is proposed by RTD. The group 9 to 5 that works on justice issues for working women has been focusing on transit issues because many of their members are transit dependent for survival. They say that the extent of the hikes would mean that vulnerable communities might have to choose between buying food or paying the increased fares.
In surveying community members 9 to 5 found that almost 80% of respondents could not afford to purchase a bus pass at the current cost of $80 to $140 a month. Less than 20% of residents received assistance in accessing a pass from an employer, school, or assistance program.
Monique, a single mother living blocks from a light rail station, works at a hospital that stopped providing passes to employees. She told 9 to 5 that covering the high cost of transportation without assistance has made it hard to provide for her family. Because she cannot afford a bus pass, she now drives to work every day because she says the gas is less expensive.
As RTD’s light rail system grows, 9to5 Colorado is calling for opportunity for working families and low-wage earners to expand as well and have campaigned for an income based EcoPass.
The next RTD fare discussion will be in Boulder at the Boulder Public Library Main Branch at 1001 Arapahoe on Monday, April 6th from 6-8 pm.
The final RTD public hearing to discuss the issue is Wednesday April 8th at 6:30 pm. It will be at RTD headquarters, 1600 Blake St. in Denver. Food, children’s activities, and Spanish interpretation will be available during the meeting.
Andrea Chiriwoga Flor is a transit organizer for 9 to 5 Colorado and she spoke with KGNU about their survey of community members and about the changes they would like to see.
summary interview: (5:36)
full interview: (10:49)