Drastic Transit Layoffs Planned in Denver Area to Offset Budget Deficit

As Colorado's Regional Transportation District plans for the 2021 budget, over 800 jobs could be cut as in attempts to regain financial losses caused by the coronavirus.

1 minute read

September 15, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery


Robert Rynerson / Flickr

Facing a projected $166 million budget deficit for 2021, Colorado's Regional Transportation District (RTD) plans to cut over 800 positions to make up for the shortfall, reports Nathaniel Minor. The cuts are part of a budget proposal that will be presented to the board this week. 

"RTD had struggled for years to fully staff those positions before the pandemic hit, and now it can’t afford them," writes Minor. According to Amalgamated Transit Union-1001 president Lance Longenbohn, the decision to go public with the plan is influenced by the understanding that if the cuts happen, the agency will have a hard time rehiring for these positions and will create difficulty regaining financial stability. 

Minor reports on the makeup of the positions on the chopping block stating that about 500 "bus drivers, light rail operators and mechanics" would be put out of work while only about 120 administrative positions would be eliminated.

The Amalgamated Transit Union-1001 published a press release stating that the disparity shows that "RTD continues to value its over-paid managers over front-line workers."

RTD cut 40% of service in April and Minor reports that ridership is still down by about 60%. The agency is currently planning service changes that continue operations in transit-dependent communities. Minor says that service cuts are likely in lesser-used routes in the coming months.

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