How safe is RTD for students on campus?
IT PUTS STUDENTS IN DANGER
Opinion by LeShaye Williams
The Regional Transportation District, more commonly known as RTD, has described itself as being affordable, easy, and convenient. It is also self-described as safe, although that is false when considering more than just the ride from point A to point B.
RTD drivers are, of course, expected and required to safely operate their assigned vehicles, but if an incident occurs during transit, there is only so much they can do to intervene. Consequently, bus and train operators would need to make a call to dispatch for assistance, and in the meantime, any victim would have to hope that a bystander or fellow rider would be willing to get involved.
But RTD encompasses more than just the vehicles operated; the spaces run by RTD must also be accounted for. While there are several light rail stations and bus stops surrounding the CU Denver campus, making for convenient transportation, some of these bus stops are not located on sidewalks, but rather dirt sidings near the curb or close to highway on- and off-ramps. Add in some of the erratic weather that Colorado is known for, and students walking to and from campus are dealing with dangerous environments.
More specifically, Colfax at Auraria, central and familiar, is heavily used by both students and faculty alike. However, those that are not affiliated with the campus also frequent the stations and areas immediately adjacent. This can absolutely decrease safety for traveling into and out of campus.
Moreover, some stations are older and have not been fully updated with new lights or live-feed cameras, so students coming from out of the area have to take extra precautions for personal safety. For RTD, lighting has also been an on-going issue at the light rail stations and bus stops. As a result, this lack of proper lighting at stations and stops, as well as any connected parking lots, presents unsafe visibility conditions at night for both drivers and riders. And as mentioned before, if an incident occurs it is more difficult for bystanders to be able to more accurately identify faces and clothing.
IT OFFERS A VALUABLE SERVICE
Opinion by Alexander Elmore
Included with every student’s fees is an RTD pass which grants holders access to unlimited rides on busses and light rails throughout the municipality of Denver. It’s a wonderful asset that should be fully utilized by students, but some are concerned that public transportation is dangerous when it is not.
RTD is one of the most reliable transportation systems in the United States. According to MoneyTalkNews.com, Denver ranks at number 22 out of the top 30 best public transportation systems in the country as of May 2018. Auraria campus is the perfect hub to access RTD as the stations, especially the light rail stations, are well lit, easily accessible, and can be reached by campus police in a moment’s notice.
Drivers for RTD are highly qualified professionals who undergo extensive training. They are not allowed to use cell phones while on duty, and the number of hours the individual driver operates the transportation per day and per week are monitored to ensure that the driver is always fully alert and never worn out.
RTD security regularly checks passenger tickets to ensure that only those who are using the system to get from one place to another are on board, making it near impossible for loitering on the transportation. Passengers are also not allowed to occupy any transportation for a period of more than two hours unless there is an issue with the transportation itself, which rarely occurs. Additionally, drivers can alert security dispatch if there is a safety threat or disruptive passenger who can then be removed. The drivers can even inform security without alerting the disruptive person, which can prevent further escalation of the situation.
Passengers on RTD are prohibited from smoking any substance or drinking alcoholic beverages, and these passengers can and will be removed from the vehicle. Animals are also only allowed on transportation if they are, or are in training to be, as service animals, or are in proper animal containers. All these things add up to an environment in which there are no potential health threats to passengers.