December 21, 2008 12:48 AM
Gotta Love the Route 15
If you're a rider of the Route 15, RTD's East Colfax bus, you know how busy it is, but have you ever seen the numbers? Now imagine if everyone on board paid to ride.
The 15 is the workhorse of RTD's bus service. Some drivers love it, some hate it. It's a real cross-section of humanity. Daily commuters from professionals to minimum-wage earners. Transit-dependent folks with no other way to get around town. The sober and not-so-sober. Fare payers and scofflaws who board the bus and don't drop money in the box.
It's those scofflaws that have RTD hiring off-duty Denver Police officers to ride random trips on the 15 and watch for people free-riding. Drivers complain to me pretty regularly that an increasing number of riders get on and refuse to pay. RTD policy tells drivers to avoid confrontations, let them ride, not delay the bus, and radio dispatch. Most often, security can't respond in time to do anything about it.
So RTD has
the 15 is the transit agency's most productive and least subsidized service -
with the Route 15 Limited, which covers the same basic ground but does it a bit
faster because it skips a lot of the local stops, try 6.62 million riders
through all of 2007. That's one-fourth of all RTD riders coming in and out of
importantly from the taxpayer's standpoint, you subsidize the Route 15 the
least of all bus routes. It costs you $1.23 per rider because it's so heavily
used. By contrast, the most heavily subsidized bus route is the Route CC serving
Route 15 runs 24 hours a day. The last westbound trip of the day starts out at
There is never a time of day when there's not a 15 bus plying some part of Colfax.