A proposal to scale back light rail service on a route exclusive to Aurora has miffed city officials who are characterizing reductions as unfair and premature.
The Regional Transportation District has targeted the 10.5-mile R line, which runs through the city along Interstate 225, for reduced service due to poor ridership. But, as the city points out, the line is less than 6 months old.
As Aurora Sentinel’s Kara Mason reports, the light rail cuts would target stops south of Anschutz Medical Campus and near the VA Hospital among others. Weekend service would discontinue and weekday routes would run at peak times — 5 and 9 a.m., and 3 and 6 p.m.
“Despite the short time the line has been operational, the up to 2,500 new residential units planned and under construction next to the light-rail line, and a connection to the Anschutz Medical Campus where 25,000 work and 1.7 million people are treated each year, RTD thinks the ridership isn’t up to par and wants to cut the frequency and add unnecessary transfers to the routes,” city officials said of the cuts in a statement, which also encouraged residents to use its draft letter to RTD to voice opposition
“The city of Aurora thinks it is not only premature, but also unfair to the residents and taxpayers in Aurora.”
In a letter to RTD, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said the district has fallen short on properly marketing the R line.
“Since the opening of the R line, RTD has failed to market the line in order to further develop ridership,” Hogan said. “We would like to see an aggressive advertising campaign implemented, as well as some innovative measures. RTD should be invested in the long-term success of the R-line.
“The proposed R line service cuts would impose two very inconvenient train transfers and doubling of travel times for riders making trips between the southeast corridor and the heart of Aurora (23 minutes to 44 minutes for a trip between Arapahoe Station and Aurora Metro Center station),” he said. “It seems these changes would also impact those wanting a direct and easy way to get to the country’s sixth-busiest airport-DEN.”
RTD will hold a public meeting discussing the proposed cuts Thursday Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Aurora Municipal Center City Café on the 2nd floor.