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The Regional Transportation District responded to frustration from Adams County officials on Monday about RTD buses not stopping to drop riders off at the Adams County Justice Center.
The district …
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The district defends that it technically hasn’t discontinued service, and that buses still go to two nearby stops. But Adams County commissioners and officials in the 17th Judicial District said the bus needs to go to the justice center parking lot, or else it will continue to make their lives and the lives of residents difficult.
“With a backlog of more than 700 felony cases, additional courtrooms and hours are being introduced by Chief Judge (Don) Quick to help provide each defendant with their constitutionally guaranteed right to a speedy trial,” said Quick, District Attorney Brian Mason, Sarah Quinn of the public defender’s office, and all five Adams County commissioners — Eva Henry, Emma Pinter, Lynn Baca, Steve O’Dorisio and Chaz Tedesco — in a letter sent to RTD on Jul 29.
The county officials continued, “The lack of access to public transit will restrict our ability to increase the quantity of cases heard – and could prove to be counterproductive to our goal of reducing the backlog of cases.”
The district decided to longer stop at the justice center for a few reasons, it said in a post on Monday responding to the recent letter and news stories which RTD called “misinformation.” The district said, “Service has not been terminated, as some have stated.”
Service has been modified, however. The bus goes to Bromley Lane & Medical Center Drive — a 0.3 mile walk from the justice center bus stop — and Bromley Lane & Tower Road, a 0.4 mile walk from the justice center bus stop. Also, the FlexRide and Access-a-Ride services still go to the justice center, RTD said.
Last year, RTD shifted operators’ schedules to meet new demand with the opening of the N Line commuter rail from Denver to Thornton last September. At the time, RTD ran a regional and local route to the justice center. After the N Line opened, it only kept the local route, the 520.
Meanwhile, RTD was struggling with low ridership for its Brighton bus routes, an issue that RTD has dealt with for a while. On average, there was one customer per trip who would get off at the justice center, RTD said in its post. The district didn’t note a precise length of time it obtained the data from, and whether that was before or after the N Line opened.
“Public transit is unable to operate as a door-to-door service for everyone, but RTD makes every effort to provide accessibility to final destinations recognizing that first- and last-mile connections can be a challenge,” RTD said.
Regardless of how RTD frames it, the Adams County officials seemed unwavering in their letter. In addition to the July 29 letter, Westminster City Councilman Jon Voelz said at a study session on Aug. 2 that the issue was discussed at a recent North Area Transportation Alliance meeting.
The commissioners and judicial district officials expressed particular concern in their letter for mobility-impaired residents.
They said, “It is essential that the RTD Route 520 stop at the Adams Count Judicial Center be immediately reinstated to meet the needs of our residents.”
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