Celebrating RTD drivers, riders, and the space made just for them

by Jessica Vargas on February 14, 2020

When new bus-only lanes were installed on 15th Street last fall, the Denver Streets Partnership showed up to host the first ever transit flash mob at 15th St and Larimer St. Now that bus-only lanes have come to 17th Street, we wanted to give a shout out to all the bus drivers and riders who finally get their own piece of the road. On a cold, snowy evening in February, the DSP and the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) went out to one of the busiest transit stops in downtown Denver during rush hour with goodies for bus drivers and riders.

We know our bus drivers work hard to get us where we need to go, so we surprised 50 RTD operators with lanyards, coffee gift cards, and good old-fashioned thank you cards as tokens of our appreciation. Check out pictures of the event, including some of the awesome drivers we were lucky enough to meet, at our Facebook page!

We also wanted to find out what our fellow bus riders thought about the new bus lanes on 15th and 17th Streets. People waiting at the stop were asked to take a short survey – after being offered a cookie of course – about how the bus-only lanes have impacted their travel. The results showed that a whopping 83% of the riders we surveyed noticed their commutes were faster, and 73% of them would like to see similar improvements on 18th and 19th Streets.

Dedicating more lanes to buses would keep them out of traffic and running on time. If buses experience fewer delays – especially along the downtown section of their routes – the speed and reliability of the overall system could improve dramatically. Bus lanes are also a more efficient use of our public space because because a bus takes up relatively little street space and can easily carry 40 or more people at a time.

Our bus driver and rider appreciation event also fell during the same week as Transit Equity Day, a nationwide effort to promote public transit as a civil right and a strategy to combat climate change. Affordable and reliable public transit will be a critical tool in creating a city that is both inclusive and sustainable. The DSP looks forward to having more opportunities to celebrate the bus as transit improvements are added to our streets! 

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