FILE - RTD Light Rail Colorado

With the skyline of Denver in the background, an unidentified worker heads on to a light rail train car to perform final-minute details to prepare the vehicle for service on Sunday, April 9, 2006, at the Regional Transportation District's repair facility in the south Denver suburb of Englewood, Colo. 

(The Center Square) – Ridership on public transportation has plunged 60 percent since the coronavirus outbreak began in Colorado, according to an estimate by the Regional Transportation District (RTD). 

Daily trips have dropped from an estimated 347,800 each weekday one year ago down to an 139,000 trips during each weekday now, the agency said, noting transit agencies in other metro areas are seeing 45 to 80 percent decreases in ridership. 

“We are monitoring our ridership daily to watch for emerging trends,” RTD’s interim General Manager and CEO Paul Ballard said in a statement Wednesday. “During these challenging times, we must be nimble while also continuing to serve our customers, especially those who rely on us.”

RTD’s estimate is “based upon informal counts by staff across the transit system,” the agency noted, adding it’s “working to quantify the effects the pandemic is having on its ridership and solidify actual ridership figures.” 

RTD offers public transportation services to almost three million people in eight counties surrounding Denver.

Gov. Jared Polis, who's strongly urged social distancing as a means of reducing spread of the virus, has also ordered the closure of schools, ski areas, and dine-in service at restaurants and bars all in the past week.

Unemployment claims in the state have gone up from 400 to over 6,800 in the matter of a week, the Colorado Department of Labor and Unemployment said Tuesday.

Regional Editor

Derek Draplin is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as an opinion producer at Forbes, and as a reporter at Michigan Capitol Confidential and The Detroit News. He’s also an editor at The Daily Caller.