RTD lobbied by low-income workers

February 19, 2014

By Monte Whaley

Originally posted in The Denver Post

Activists and transit riders Tuesday night lobbied the Regional Transportation District to rework fares to make them more affordable to low-income residents.

“Current pass and fare costs are flat-out unaffordable for low-income riders,” said Zoe Williams, transit organizer for 9to5, which aims to improve conditions for poor, working families.

Several 9to5 members asked the RTD board of directors to develop an income-based fare system.

A report produced in January by the group called¬†“Left at the Station” said RTD’s program of allocating bus and train passes through nonprofits is not adequate to meet the long-term needs of low-income workers.

“I love RTD, I love the RTD system,” Leticia Bradford, a Denver resident, told the board.

But most employers don’t underwrite transit passes for their workers, Bradford said.

Workers’ paychecks are then eaten up by fares for light rail and buses, she said.

RTD took issue with 9to5’s report, saying it did not portray RTD’s efforts for the poor accurately. Still, officials said they will meet with 9to5 to talk about new strategies for riders.

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