After Trying Light Rail for Events, Some Denver Riders Refer to RTD as "Reason to Drive" | Westword

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Reader: There's a Reason We Call RTD "Reason to Drive"

Complaints about light rail can get very heavy.
And it seemed like such a good idea...
And it seemed like such a good idea... RTD
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RTD's Zero Fare for Better Air program ran through August, but Teague Bohlen wasn't thinking about a free ride when he decided to take the light rail with his son to the Weezer concert at Fiddler's Green on August 28. He was thinking about traffic, and parking, and the simple fact that using public transportation is the right thing to do for both the urban infrastructure and the environment.

But after a fifteen-mile trip turned into an almost three-hour odyssey, he determined that you get what you pay for with RTD.

And in their comments on the Westword Facebook page and in emails, readers offer up their own horror stories: Says Dave: 
I had the same experience. Making it very hard for me to keep promoting it to others.
Adds Scott:
Same thing happened after the Broncos game. I am pretty sure RTD knows the Broncos schedule. Took me three hours to get home.
Notes Vinny:
I was reading your article about the light rail after the concert at Fiddler's Green. I work at Junior Achievement right across the street from the venue and take the light rail to and from the Arapahoe station every day. The delays are absurd, but perhaps what is more absurd is the lack of communication. I understand they are doing construction, but they need to update the schedule when they know there are going to be delays, and sometimes we will be sitting there for 15 minutes in between stops with no announcements. Or sometimes it’ll say a 10-15 minute delay and will announce it every 10 minutes, and it’ll turn into a 30-minute delay. They shouldn’t be doing construction during rush hour where it knocks it down to one track. There needs to be a better plan. Luckily, it hasn’t affected me being on time to work, because I always plan on taking an earlier one, but for others I know it has.
Recalls Miklos:
My twelve-year-old son loves to ride the train. We live in Centennial and will usually take RTD downtown for events at Coors Field, Ball Arena and fireworks during July 4th and New Year's. On our last few concerts and Rockies games. RTD has proven to be unreliable, to say the least. On one concert we attended at Ball Arena, they left us stranded; my wife had to drive up to pick us up. It's been typical that they do not have enough service to provide for when there are multiple events occurring simultaneously. This occurred recently during a Little League event at Coors and a George Strait concert at Empower. Packed train from Ridgegate. Every stop delayed by riders trying to stuff themselves on. We arrived almost one hour late, missed the baseball field walk with all the Little League teams.  Our last ride is the last time we will use RTD for an event.

When we selected Centennial, I did so with the motive to possibly commute to downtown. As a former NY'er, I am thankful that I don't have to rely on RTD. RTD makes the MTA look competent. RTD providing free rides, they should pay us to ride. I won't ever opt to ride to DIA unless I want to miss my flight intentionally. I will keep that as a plan option.

Offers Michael:
I had the exact same experience using the light rail after one of the Nuggets playoff games. Multiple trains in the schedule just didn't show up. It took two hours to go less than three miles where my car was parked at the Evans station. I could have walked all the way to my house from Ball Arena in less time. I will never use Light Rail again after that experience.
I am very glad to see an article on this. I actually live close to the Arapahoe RTD and took the light rail to two concerts at the Pepsi Center and waited two hours for an E Line that never came. I had to take a very expensive Lyft home both times. Dozens of other people were also stranded and looking for alternatives to get home. This is completely unacceptable to have this happening at big events when people are taking public transportation. Especially when RTD gives people zero notice the trains will not be in service. I get they are understaffed, but not servicing big events like this is not okay.
Concludes Bruce: 
There’s a reason why long-time locals refer to it as Reason to Drive.
Do you use RTD? When? What have your experiences been? Post a comment or email [email protected].
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