In 2014 the Regional Transportation District (RTD) initiated a Fare Study with the goal of simplifying its Fare Policy. The first phase included the analysis of RTD’s current fare structure and fare media (e.g. cash, tickets, smart cards, monthly passes, etc.), as well as hosting focus group style discussions with community based organizations to help identify problems in the fare structure and media. In phase two, RTD reviewed and suggested fare increases, many of which were adopted May 2015 and those fare increases have negatively impacted equal access to transit.
Public Transportation Benefits
Transit has the transformative potential of improving economic efficiency for both the individual and the local economy. When a transit system allows an unemployed individual to find and keep a job, this saves significant tax dollars by reducing payments for such programs as unemployment compensation, Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and/or Medicaid. Furthermore, transit can reduce social and economic inequalities by enhancing mobility for residents, many of whom lack cars and need assistance in finding jobs outside their primary resident area.
- 75% of a family’s monthly budget is consumed on housing and transportation costs, in many cases.
- 25% of a minimum wage worker’s salary is needed to afford a bus pass at a regular rate each month.
- 15 million people in this country have difficulties getting the transportation they need. Of these, about 6 million (40%) are people with disabilities.
- 5 million people in this country never leave their homes due to transportation difficulties
- 58% of a person with disabilities available resources would be spent on a monthly bus pass offered by RTD
- In 2009, 57% of households headed by an immigrant (legal and illegal) with children (under 18) used at least one welfare program.
Limited Access to Transit:
Those who are unable to pay current or increased fares have several options. Currently, discount fares are available for all seniors 65+, individuals with disabilities, and Medicare recipients and students in elementary, middle and high school, ages 6-19. Children five years of age or younger ride free (limit of three children for each fare-paying adult). While no discount based on income is available, a Non-Profit Discount program exists for qualifying organizations.
Solutions for Equal Access: Be a Champion!
Colorado People’s Alliance as well as our community partners, The Arc of Aurora, 9to5 Colorado, Community Enterprise, Jobs With Justice, and FRESC believe in the transformative potential that mobility and transit offers in the lives of the community we serve. Like RTD- everyday, we connect people with employment, education, health care, family, friends, shopping and so much more. We make a difference in the lives of those we serve. By increasing access to programs that ultimately increase access to transit, our community wins!
Join us to ensure ALL residents have access to public transportation!
Ask RTD to begin working on a low-income fare pass for the neediest riders, NOW. Seattle has done it, so can we! Find out who is your RTD board member by following this link: http://www.rtd-denver.com/BoardDirectors.shtml.
For more information please contact us 303-893-3500.