RTD proposes fare hike; activists rally Wednesday night

Bradley Gordon, https://www.flickr.com/photos/icanchangethisright/3619926079/in/photolist-6vT4UB-5QW3vx-5R1k4s-5QW4zD-5QW3Mv-5R1kfY-6CmjF2-5QW47K-5R1m5E-5QW4RD-fwZpkb-55C3M8-kxdqf6-8jJS1V-6q8EYw-7RP5yw-7RP7Nu-7RKRqa-4nKCar-6pTdLa-8vKAft-fwZStL-53rsF6-8ckFRk-b4AfQF-8vFTcw-bkbVSa-bkbGB8-etMUTg-bkbGdD-bkbEsg-bkbGXV-bkbGnV-bkbECV-acYBzw-8vK7ip-govTk8-wdMJ6-etNfGR-o8rMtt-ZF6cp-bVVtTf-pDpzmF-p1y68r-BbFyH-qy8P76-He1or-qyafFD-8xcn1D-qiB94u, Creative Commons

On RTD’s website, the public transportation company is reminding customers that April 9 is Stand Up for Transportation Day. Lobby Congress for federal funding, a blog post encourages. But in Denver, public transportation activists are working on another campaign — to stop RTD’s 15 percent price raise.

Tonight, at a public hearing, community organizers planned to show their opposition to the increase. This fare hike feels, well, unfair to many RTD users. Most earn less than $35,000 a year, according to Mile High Connects.

“After nearly two years of working on a fare study and talking to community members about their needs, it is clear affordability is the number one concern of riders today,” said Zoe Williams, the transit organizer for 9to5 Colorado, an economic justice organization, in a release. “Any proposal that does not include accommodations for low-income working families falls short.”

The demonstration took place outside RTD headquarters, 1600 Blake Street, where RTD was scheduled to hold a public hearing.

In a blog post about the increase, Deborah Mèndez-Wilson wrote, “RTD has been committed to listening to public input and will continue to do so as the fare study moves forward this year.”

In addition to upping rates, the company is considering getting rid of transfers and offering a $5.20 day-pass. “Those who qualify for reduced fares – seniors, students aged 6-19 and disabled riders – would pay only $2.60 to ride all day under the plan,” she wrote.

Top photo credit: Bradley Gordon, Creative Commons, via Flickr