RTD Too Expensive? Go Ride a Bike or Ride the Hyperloop!
2015 Jan 30 By Blake 0 comment

 

There are always grumblings on RTD’s cost of tickets. An even bigger complaint is how complex they are in figuring out which one to buy. 9News and the Denver Business Journal follow up;

…pay for bus and train rides in the Denver area is probably going to change soon.
The Denver Regional Transportation District is working on a plan to simplify its fare system because it decided the current structure is just too complicated.

“It’s a mess,” argues rider Kathy Procopio ofArapahoe County. She has a point: there are three different kinds of bus fares depending how far you go, transfers to keep track of, and the light-rail system has four different zones with different prices.

So if people can’t figure out what to pay, how will they get the energy to use RTD? What if RTD needed a temporary fix for congestion? Well 9News and the Denver Business Journal have the scoop again:

If you drive along U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder, you know It can be tough to maneuver around the construction. A new program, though, is aiming to cut down on the number of cars on the highway.

It would combine RTD public transportation with employees who work in this corridor, and it won’t cost those workers a thing.

Programs like this have been shown to be a very effective way to change commute behavior,” said Audrey DeBarros, executive director of the non-profit “36 Commuting Solutions,” which is administering the program.
The EcoPass pilot program combines two things: RTD transportation, like buses and light rail, and employees who work at companies within a quarter of a mile of a Park-n-Ride station along U.S. 36. The idea is to get as many as 1,000 workers in this corridor to ditch their cars in favor of public transportation– at no cost to them.

Very novel idea, but I fear RTD has not done enough of this across the entire RTD network.

Also, to add to the confusion, people think the organization is confusing bus rapid transit into the US 36 corridor.

BROOMFIELD — That Bus Rapid Transit system being installed as part of a $438 million retooling of U.S. 36 from Denver to Boulder isn’t what local transportation officials say it is.

At least that’s according to a nonprofit group that helps develop sustainable transportation efforts across the globe. The New York-based Institute for Transportation and Development Policy promotes Bus Rapid Transit efforts and certifies projects deemed truly BRT.

What’s being developed on U.S. 36 and being promoted by the Regional Transportation District is not truly BRT, said Annie Weinstock, the institute’s regional director for the U.S. and Africa.

“I would urge them not to call it BRT,” Weinstock said.

The problem for Weinstock is that specially made BRT buses will share an express lane on U.S. 36 with High Occupancy Vehicles and motorists willing to pay a toll.

BRT systems certified by the institute mimic rail transit and travel only in dedicated lanes not open to other vehicles.

Thanks for the input, but the corridor will still be promoted as including BRT, say RTD and local officials.

“If it’s true that U.S. 36 is not actually BRT, then that’s fair to say,” said Boulder Mayor Matthew Appelbaum. “But it’s also fair to say that this is a good mobility solution that can include most of the positive characteristics of BRT for less money and it’s an approach that works best in an area like this.”

“If they don’t like us stealing that name, then help us come up with something else,” Appelbaum added.

The U.S. 36 Express Lanes Project calls for building an express lane in each direction of U.S. 36, in addition to two free general-purpose lanes. The BRT vehicles are boarded from rail-like platforms that are level with bus doors and also tend to carry more passengers and run more frequently than standard buses.

As part of the U.S. 36 project, new electronic display signage will be in place at BRT stations, while new, widened shoulders will allow buses to operate between interchanges to decrease bus travel time.

Crews will also install Intelligent Transportation Systems, or ITS, for tolling, transit and traveler information and incident management.

The whole idea behind the revamped U.S. 36 corridor is to provide people with options for travel, including BRT, standard bus service, toll lanes and even a continuous bike path, said Pauletta Tonilas, RTD’s spokeswoman for its FasTracks program.

“This is going to be a great example of a multi-modal transportation system,” Tonilas said.

Cheap multi modal transport is still a new idea in the US. The Colorado’s hyperloop will be built and connected to every single transport mode RTD has to offer, and other modes like biking. The below video is missing future transportation initiatives, like the Hyperloop.

All modes of transport should cost as little as possible for the user and be good for the environment. Thus, is also interesting to see the recent initiative to build recreational bike trail from Wyoming to New Mexico. It is a goal set by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. From the bill itself:

MANY COLORADANS ENJOY BICYCLING AS A RECREATIONAL
8 ACTIVITY, THAT BICYCLISTS USE BICYCLE TRAILS ALONG AND ON EXISTING

9 ROADWAYS FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES AND TO ACCESS ADDITIONAL
10 RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES, AND THAT SUBSTANTIAL PORTIONS OF NET
11 LOTTERY PROCEEDS ARE CONSTITUTIONALLY DEDICATED FOR OUTDOOR
12 RECREATIONAL PURPOSES AND MAY BE EXPENDED TO CONSTRUCT AND
13 EXPAND RECREATIONAL BICYCLE TRAILS ALONG AND ON EXISTING
14 ROADWAYS;

Interesting and noble, but 9News also states, that its not a done deal:

DENVER (AP) – A recreational bike trail from Wyoming to New Mexico is a goal set by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

A proposal before the Colorado Senate Thursday could play a part in that goal.

The Senate Finance Committee starts work on a bill to encourage both the Division of Parks and Wildlife and local governments to spend a portion of the net lottery proceeds they receive to construct and expand recreational bicycle trails.

The bill wouldn’t be a mandate.

The sponsor is Republican Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa. He says bike trails should be a priority in spending lottery proceeds.

In conclusion, I think the trump card will still be speed of service. 

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