I promise not to spam y’all with work-related things too often, but as several of you heard me ranting about this weekend, RTD is going to have a pretty big vote coming up that would raise the price of EcoPasses, for businesses and for neighborhoods by 18.3% starting in 2016. If you were not already aware, RTD’s fares will increase by 13.3% across the board in 2016 anyway, but the extra 5% cost increase for EcoPasses will likely end up pricing out many smaller businesses or neighborhoods that provide the EcoPass.
RTD cites concerns of a title VI violation, which is the law that prevents discrimination by race, gender, religion etc. for their reason in raising EcoPass pricing by an extra 5%. RTD’s logic is that most of the people who receive EcoPasses currently are white and upper middle class, however RTD has been reticent in releasing smart card data on ridership from the EcoPasses and their current demographic information was collected via telephone survey in 2011 (and the scientists in the room know that that’s a BS way of gathering data).
While I appreciate RTD’s concerns about social equity, my industry insider perspective is that RTD is looking to severely cripple the EcoPass program because it does not help them earn money. If RTD were truly concerned about social equity, they would support efforts to expand EcoPass access, rather than taking it away.
I know that many of you (myself included) currently or formerly benefited from an EcoPass and that for some of you, the bus is your main form of transportation. I personally cannot afford to commute to work by driving every day of the week.
If you have time today and interest, I strongly urge you to contact your regional RTD board member (if you live in Boulder, it is Chuck Sisk firstname.lastname@example.org) and let them know that you support increasing EcoPass Pricing at a rate of 13.3% consistent with other fare rates. RTD will have a meeting about this tonight, and will make the final vote on the 15th, so there’s not a lot of time.
If you don’t know what to say, below is the email copy I sent to my RTD board member – feel free to copy!
And no pressure if you totally disagree with me – just trying to get some more public support from other RTD riders, and this is a more productive way of channeling my anger than saying to my roommates that RTD can go suck a bag of dicks.
First of all, I would like to thank you for your service on the RTD Board of Directors. I can imagine that it is not an easy job, and I appreciate your service to our community.
As a transit rider and a resident of Park Hill in Denver, I would like to encourage you and the RTD board of directors to support only a 13.3% increase to the 2016 EcoPass Pricing and request that a task force be convened to determine a process to address Title IV concerns regarding the EcoPass. I am fortunate to currently receive an EcoPass through my job, however, as we are a small company, an 18.3% price increase may make it impossible for my employer to continue provide the pass.
I appreciate RTD’s concerns about equity in transit ridership, however, I believe that figuring out ways to expand the EcoPass program to more businesses and neighborhoods to make an inexpensive bus pass more accessible to everyone is a better way of resolving concerns of accessibility, rather than raising the price disproportionately for companies that currently provide the EcoPass.
Thank you for taking the time to read my email, and again for your service to the RTD board.
Janney Lockman (my address which I’m not posting on the internet you weirdos)