Regional Transportation District (RTD) Changes
Regional Transportation District (RTD) has notified city staff that it is facing significant funding shortfalls and would evaluate the performance of all its transit services looking for under-performing routes that could be cut to save costs. As the City of Boulder and RTD have faced budget shortfalls, differences became apparent in how the two organizations approach providing bus-based transit. RTD's apparent priority for bus-based transit service became more focused on providing "coverage" for "transit dependent riders," while the City of Boulder has maintained its focus on providing transit for the "choice rider" as well as for transit-dependent customers. From the City of Boulder's experience working with the community on service design, "choice riders" prefer high-frequency, direct service, rather than geographic service "coverage."
As a result, RTD reduced its commitment and funding levels for high-frequency services such as the HOP, JUMP and BOUND. To date, Boulder, Boulder County and University of Colorado students have provided additional funding to keep such services at higher frequencies. In addition, the STAMPEDE and DASH started in the end of 2002 and beginning of 2003, respectively. The DART service to Longmont is scheduled to start next year. It does not appear that RTD will continue to support the SKIP funding model of continuing to support these services after the two year demonstration phase. Based on current revenues, local funding for the high-frequency service beyond RTD's commitment and ability to fund such services is not sustainable over the long term. To sustain such high-frequency services long term will require Boulder, Boulder County, the University of Colorado and others to create a new model for providing transit which will need to consider additional funding and potentially different operational and governance approaches.
More recently, RTD staff and Board considered eliminating the business Eco Pass and Neighborhood Eco Pass programs, which are significant contributors to both ridership and farebox revenues. Regional stakeholder negotiations have maintained the integrity of these pass programs for the next one to two years.
The recent experiences with RTD over the last several years suggest several conclusions:
Given these conclusions, it seems clear that the challenge for the TMP has gotten greater. As we have more population and employment, no combination of acceptable land use change or currently developed transportation investment reaches our current goals. The issues with RTD mean that our unmet funding needs have increased and that investment programs depending on the SKIP funding model are no longer a valid base for the TMP Update.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 13:48