IP-2-86 (January 1986)
Author: Spencer Swalm
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Introduction: Transit Customers and Owners in Need of Relief
Fast, efficient, and economical movement of people and goods within the Denver metropolitan area is important to the economic health of the entire state and region. Improving the transportation system of the West’s regional hub was the goal when mass transit operations were transferred from private to public ownership 16 years ago. But it is now difficult to argue that the Regional Transportation District is progressing toward the goal in any meaningful way.
Since its creation in 1969, RTD has spent nearly one billion tax dollars on mass transit operations in the Denver area. Despite this staggering investment, RTD’s impact on metro traffic and pollution problems has been minimal, act best. The whole operation needs to be given a tough performance evaluation and a better set of incentives by those whom the system supposedly serves.
The road map that will help guide RTD toward cost-effective operations must come in the form of feedback from the citizens of Denver, Jefferson, Arapahoe, Adams, Boulder, and Douglas Counties — 1.8 million people comprising 56 percent of the whole population of Colorado — who simultaneously constitute RTD’s customers, owners, and financiers.