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giebelh1 Jul 22, 2008 1:57 AM

There was an article in one of the local papers a couple months back where one of the questions brought up was "Why doesn't RTD's ticket machines accept credit cards?" I believe it was Scott Reed, RTD's public information guy, that said they were considering installing machines on the new FastTracks corridors. He also mentioned they're considering replacing the machines at the stations on the existing lines at some point however they'll all need phone lines fed to them for the credit card processing. I'm kind of surprised the phone lines weren't run to the machines on the new SE line when the line was built, even if they decided to wait a few years to implement CC processing machines.

SnyderBock Jul 22, 2008 10:48 AM


Originally Posted by Fritzdude (Post 3686095)
I doubt this is the reason - considering that gas stations and self-check out supermarket stands will allow people to use credit cards and their dollar values are much higher. I agree with the criticism - FastTracks needs to allow for credit/debit cards. It's annoying to pay with cash! :koko:

Also - I wish they made it more convenient to bring on bikes. How cool would it be for a section of the car be designated for bikes, with racks where you could park your bike and allow you to sit down. The fact that you can only stand with your bike at the end of the car is both a hazard and an inconvenience.

I'm also surprised that no one has thought about putting LCD Displays on the train to run commercials, info, etc.. It's a captive audience; people are forced to pay attention to the bube tube. :D

How about instead of extending the platforms for 4-cars, adding a 4th car with low floors? Save money by not having to extend the platforms, make it easy for people with bikes and handicaps to get into the low floor car of the train.

bcp Jul 22, 2008 7:45 PM

dont you still need a platform (not raised)? otherwise people will be getting on and off into the tracks / gravel....not fun

Denver Bear Jul 23, 2008 3:49 AM


Originally Posted by bcp (Post 3685112)
you are totally right that they mostly have taken the "path of least resistance" with station / line locations....just look at central denver where the greatest density is...the welton line is a failure i'd say - but that doenst mean it cant be fixed.

just curious...what don't you like about the zone-based fare system?

It's not uniform. It can be confusing for the "average" suburbunaite who wants to feel trendy and go downtown with their giant purse and 2.3 kids on a Sunday via rail. I also know it keeps people from riding the rail who work downtown. I can't but help wonder how much more ridership they could get if the eliminated the zones. And if it the rise in ridership would offset the loss in revune from higher fares. Some of the people I know, the fare boundaries are either a financial or mental barrier.

Since RTD refuses to service areas of intrest outside of downtown and the airport, can they operate shuttles from Union Station or certain stops ( or future stops) to Points of Intrest on weekends and certain events? Like City Park, Cherry Creek, Sloans Lake, Sante Fe Dr, Bel Mar, Stapleton/Northfield, etc etc etc? All these lines that reach deep into the burbs are good and all for downtown, but there's more to our metro than downtown, and it's starting to get under my skin.

bcp Jul 23, 2008 4:34 AM

oh man..the zone system is SO much easier than what RTD used to have. so simple - longer your ride, the more you pay. works really well in DC (where they even augment the fare based on rush / non-rush hour)

swipey / re-fill card and CC acceptance at the machines would be a big help. in other cities we would just fill our cards periodically and never have to worry about cash / change etc.

Top Of The Park Jul 23, 2008 4:37 AM

you cannot mix low floor and high floor cars in a consist

It's been 3 years since I was at RTD, but I wonder if they even have the new fareboxes that take credit cards, like in COS and other cities...

It seems with all the cost overages, the money is going toward Fastracks instead of improvements. I've noticed they still are running the older MCI's on Intercity Routes....

Low floor trains would let people and wheel chairs off at ground level at the platforms. It is not workable to run both type of trains in a system.

denverryan Jul 23, 2008 5:02 AM


Originally Posted by Denver Bear (Post 3689112)
Since RTD refuses to service areas of intrest outside of downtown and the airport, can they operate shuttles from Union Station or certain stops ( or future stops) to Points of Intrest on weekends and certain events? Like City Park, Cherry Creek, Sloans Lake, Sante Fe Dr, Bel Mar, Stapleton/Northfield, etc etc etc?

Hmmm.... if by "shuttles" you are alright with taking buses to these points of interest, then RTD already has all of these areas very well covered by bus routes.

You can also purchase passes at Market Street Station and other major hubs at kiosks with credit cards. I'm surprised they don't have this everywhere... it seems like a no-brainer when people don't carry cash with them much anymore unless they work in a bar (or strip club, naturally).

From my perspective, RTD needs serious improvements in:

- The light rail ticket purchase/validation process. There is no reason buying a ticket on the light rail should be difficult -- I've done it countless times in various foreign countries and languages, and I still struggle with the system we have here. The kiosks are clunky and hard to use, and the validation machines seem like they are intentionally hidden from view, almost comically so at Union Station. Visually, the process should be so obvious you don't have to think about it.

- Labeling of bus stops. You can look online or in print for bus route information, then go to the corner where the bus is supposed to stop and find four different signs with your route number on it. RTD labels the name of the bus route on each sign, but not where that bus is going. It's obvious when you're on big streets like Colfax and the bus is flinging from one end of town to another, but anytime the bus veers from a straight line it's impossible to tell which side of the street to stand on to go the direction you're heading. They should label the buses stops in a more descriptive way, telling you where that route number would go were you to get on at that exact location. Outside my work in Boulder, for example, I have to stand on the opposite side of the street I would expect because the bus does a big U-turn almost immediately after picking me up. How did I find out where to stand? Trial and error. It's insane that they don't provide this information anywhere.

bcp Jul 23, 2008 6:26 AM

correct...its insane - straighten out the routes big time. it's supposed to happen with fasttracks.

SnyderBock Jul 23, 2008 8:37 AM


Originally Posted by bcp (Post 3688272)
dont you still need a platform (not raised)? otherwise people will be getting on and off into the tracks / gravel....not fun

Yes, but I just mean an elevated platform. Is there any reason they could extend the platform for the forth train to be designed for a low-floor train? Can they attach a low-floor car onto a raised floor train? Three raised floor cars and one low-floor car per train with platforms that match that configuration. I hear you TopOfthepark, that it can't be done, but why not? Doesn't seem all that technically challenging to me. Just because no one has ever done it, or even thought about doing, it doesn't mean it can't be done. The question is, if the modifications would cost more than the savings to the point it outweighs the benefits.

bcp Jul 23, 2008 7:09 PM

what savings would be created be extending the platforms (not the handicap ramp platforms)?

SnyderBock Jul 24, 2008 11:28 AM

The extension of the platform would be for a low-floor train, thus the platform extension should use less materials.

Istanbul5280 Jul 24, 2008 1:25 PM

Rethinking Fastracks?
I read this beauty of an article today.

I can't believe these people. Do any of the fastrack foes run the cost increase models for how much highway projects have increased lately? Considering most highways in CO are asphalt and a main ingredient of asphalt is oil-based tar, municipalities across the nation are having difficulty repairing existing roads let alone building new ones for the intense growth expected in the near future. Electrical grid powered transportation is the future regardless if its 5 years or 50 years from now. The combustible engine was an innovation of the industrial age, over 100 years ago. The best feature of Fastracks is not even the transportation element of it, it is the high density regeneration that it enables. Look at the recent high density developments at Arapahoe Rd. and Lodo for example. How many acres of low density suburban development did these 12+ story buildings offset. How many additional miles of roads, sewer pipes, lighting, and how many acres of parking spaces did they eliminate. And lastly and most important, TREX allowed people in Denver to rethink their lifestyle and ask some questions that the "American dream" never asked them to. "Is it practicle to drive a 3,000 lb machine to move a 150lb person? Are the suburbs the only place for a quality lifestyle? Is private transportation better than public transit? (Until TREX, Denver did not possess an attractive transit option IMO). I hope the Denver public gets behind RTD and aggressively attacks the transportation problem by building much more transit. Fastracks should just be a start of a much wider expansion. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not advocating the death of the private automobile, I just hope society begins to see it as a privelage rather than a god given right. Limited public money should go to benefit the most amount of people in the most efficient manner. I just can't see how people make the case that highways and the automobile is more efficient planning than fixed line transport and development. Just my rant for today.

1Post2 Jul 24, 2008 2:57 PM

ha. i was waiting for caldera to do this. what the hell is his alternative to fastracks? if i remember correctly, he advocates concentric beltways every 6 miles from the city center as the utopian transportation system. if it wasn't for him and the single property owning couple in lakewood that is raising a stink about eminent domain, the rocky would lose fodder for about 90% of its anti-fastracks stories.

The Dirt Jul 24, 2008 3:39 PM

Welcome to the forum, Istanbul5280!

I could have predicted that RTD was lowballing their cost figures. Not because they were, but because they weren't considering that the economy would tank, gas prices would keep going up, and materials costs would go up. Basically, they were expecting that everything would be relatively static for the next 15 years, but recessions happen. As for Caldera... this guy's so way out of touch with public opinion and the mood of the metro area that it amazes me that he still tries so hard. Personally, I think he likes the limelight a little too much, but whatever.

I think that RTD needs to do everything in their power to start construction and buy materials now. The economy will improve, but materials costs will not. Build as much as they can (shorten the lines) then go back to the voters to get money to finish the lines at a later time. People will be pissed off if they ask for money now without seeing the benefits of fasttracks. Build as much of the lines first... people up north won't mind commuting a couple of miles to the end of the line -- it's better than nothing.

glowrock Jul 24, 2008 3:44 PM

Caldera is such a pain in the ass it's not even funny. He obviously has no idea how expensive ALL construction projects have gotten in the last few years. The man has absolutely no clue, and his inane rants about RTD being bloated and cost-ineffective are getting extremely tiresome. He's forgotten that the current LRT lines have all been built on-time and on-budget! Where's RTD's history of supposedly not being on-time and on-budget? They actually have a pretty good history of getting projects done within some fairly strict time and budget constraints.

FasTracks is being victimized by faltering economics and extreme construction cost inflation. It's a nasty one-two punch, no doubt about it!

Aaron (Glowrock)

SnyderBock Jul 25, 2008 9:44 AM

Caldera thinks he can throw the knockout punch - that's what he's up to. What I want to know, is how he plans to build a belt highway every 6 miles out from Denver's core, without taking people's businesses with eminent domain and without costing equal to or more than FasTracks? The tax payers will still have to pay a tax for this, plus high fuel prices to power their cars. Perhaps he thinks we should tax gasoline another 20 cents per gallon or something? Then use that money to steal land from people, so that the CDOT can build it's boondoggle beltway system? Or perhaps we should just raise fuel tax by 50 cents per gallon and build all the beltway highways elevated and underground! Then also charge a toll to use them, so that there will be money to maintain them!

hey, if they make it so there is no speed limits, I'm all game. They don't like government interfering, right? Speed limits interfere with my ability to drive fast. Make them autobahns that are grade-separated (subterranean and/or elevated) and I will support it, as long as FasTracks gets built too!

1Post2 Jul 29, 2008 6:34 PM

There was a Denver Daily News article today about the upcoming transit studies on Colfax. Two separate transportation studies funded by the state will look at improvements to the bus system and the possibility of rail. Both are tentatively planned to begin this fall.

There's a few memorable quotes from the Director of Policy and Planning for the Department of Denver Public Works, Chrissy Fanganello, that seem to echo what we've heard before from RTD:

1) It is accepted that streetcars are "a tool for economic development ... people like trains in general, they like to ride them, the perception for public transit is much higher if it's a train rather than if it's a bus, for whatever reason." This positive impression is likely based on the numbers we've all heard from Portland regarding private investment in areas served by streetcar.

2) The streetcar "barely moves people", while bus rapid transit "is really more about getting more people from A to B." I'm not sure why this opinion is so pervasive among our officials, but I'm really hoping that the upcoming streetcar study will include some case studies from elsewhere. Are there really any cases where a high-volume bus line was replaced by streetcars and service or capacity actually became worse rather than better? Do they realize that Colfax doesn't/won't actually operate as true BRT? (Although steps in that direction, such as preferential signal timing, will be studied.) Given that Colfax has both local buses and limited buses that stop only every so often, would this express service be possible to continue with streetcars?

BTW, RTD expects continued 10% annual growth for the Colfax corridor.

Top Of The Park Jul 29, 2008 7:16 PM

My take on Colfax
Streetcars would help re-vitalize the Colfax corridor. They probably would stop every three blocks or so. If Denver got the newer ones like in Portland, the capacity is close to that of an articulated bus. I believe that no matter how fancy a bus is put on Colfax, it will soon be trashed. Streetcars would be like light rail in that there would be security and fare inspectors....

bcp Jul 29, 2008 7:54 PM

let's hope its at LEAST a 5 block spread- which means the most you ever have to walk along colfax is a measily 2.5 blocks to get to your destination.

Top Of The Park Jul 29, 2008 8:59 PM

saving time is essential....
I wonder in the ones in Portland (or anywhere for that matter) have traffic signal actuators. I know they're expensive, but boy would they save time. Every 5 blocks works for me, and it would probably pull ridership from 4 to 5 blocks either way.

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