A new advocacy group has formed as a response to the Denver area’s Regional Transportation District implementation of increased fares for bus and light rail services that took effect at the start of the year.
Riders United organizer Kelly Ritchie told KGNU that some patrons of the transportation system face paying 132% more for a monthly pass. A variety of non-profit groups working to ease poverty facilitate on behalf of low income, disabled and elderly riders in acquiring a discounted monthly pass that now costs $57, which is more than double last year’s fee of $24.50. Ritchey said the agency offered no explanation as to why such a price hike was being applied to this particular kind of pass against the back drop of other riders’ seeing increases of just 15 to 17%.
Ritchey described the higher prices as outrageous and contends the impact of the fare structure will make economic viability even more challenging.
“These price hikes are really outrageous and there are already many people who are vulnerable or marginalized who can’t afford the new fares.” ~Kelly Ritchey, Riders United organizer.
RTD announced the increases last fall, months after creating the new executive position of chief operating officer with a salary of $230,000. The agency’s Chief executive is David Genova, his contract calls for a $10,000 increase yearly and this year’s estimate with benefits included top $300,000. A review of 800 records randomly drawn from wage and salary information available on more than 2,800 RTD employees found 11.5% or 92 employees making $100,000 or more per year.