RTD walking back controversial proposal to reduce R Line service; Aurora RTD rep still says ‘no’

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AURORA | The Regional Transportation District board members gave initial approval to a walked-back proposal to reduce service along the R Line, which runs along Interstate 225 and through much of Aurora, Tuesday night.

Now, RTD wants to keep weekday service as it currently operates, and reduce weekend service from every 15 minutes to every 30 minutes. Last month RTD staff proposed cutting services south of the Florida stop during off-peak times as well as on the weekends altogether.

The RTD Board Operations and Customer Service Committee, which is made up of the full board, voted on the new proposed service change for the R Line, and several other transit routes, Tuesday. It passed on a vote of 9-3. Now the measure will go on to full board meeting on Oct. 24.

“It’s better, but it still looks premature,” said Bob Broom, an RTD director for much of Aurora where the R Line operates, prior to the vote.

Last month, Broom said he thought RTD should wait a little longer before deciding the ridership isn’t meeting expectations. It’s a sentiment he still has, even as the service changes look less drastic this time around.

“This proposal will better match levels of service to ridership demand thereby increasing the efficiency and sustainability of the service while also providing additional time to build weekday ridership,” according to the new proposal.

This plan is slated to reduce RTD costs by $1.5 million each year.

The change comes after major pushback from Aurora city leaders and riders. At an RTD community meeting about the proposed cuts in September, Arapahoe County Commissioner Bill Holen, along with Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, both said the city and county have spent a significant amount of money to make the R Line possible.

Several community members also spoke out about the cuts.

Hogan was not immediately available for comment on the new proposal. But Broom said the public input was surely a contributing factor in the new proposed service plan reductions.

“It’s a package of about 40 different changes,” Broom said. “The only objection (I have) is the proposed R Line changes.”