In late August 2010, a major change was implemented by the Regional Transportation District (RTD) changing the Federal Bus Route 31 to a crosstown route. This was a change the Partnership began advocating for a year before. After living with the change for over a year, the Partnership is questioning whether the new configuration works for the north Federal corridor and Northwest Denver residents.
As a crosstown route, the Federal 31 bus now traverses Federal north and south, without a downtown destination. If a Route 31 passenger desires to go downtown, there are two options including a transfer to a bus that crosses the 31 route (examples include 9, 16, 28, 32, 38, 44 and can also include use of the Colfax/Federal transfer station) or originating the trip by catching one of the downtown buses.
While transfers certainly are an option, the Partnership has talked with many riders and is getting the sense the inefficiencies of transfers now discourage use of the 31 for downtown riders. Plus, it is more inefficient for Federal corridor riders who had relied on 31 to now in many cases walk/travel further to catch a dedicated downtown route where time between buses is greater as well as travel time downtown. Unquestionably, being able to travel south with the 31 as far as the Evans and Federal transfer station is convenient but the Partnership believes the demand for efficient downtown travel is greater in the north Federal corridor.
A year and a half ago the Partnership originally approached RTD with the interest of looking at the Federal bus changing to a crosstown route. We were thinking about its implementation with the opening of the west corridor light rail line where a transfer at the Federal station would quickly get passengers downtown. Instead, RTD had already been thinking about the change with the recent opening of the Colfax and Federal transfer station. As such, RTD decided to implement the crosstown solution with the emphasis of transfer to other routes using the Colfax/Federal transfer station as the lynch pin of the route. All well and good but we’re wondering whether RTD didn’t “jump the gun” so to speak?
In the next few weeks the Partnership will be meeting with RTD officials and our local elected RTD Board Director Angie Malpiede to discuss the first year of the crosstown route. One approach we’re interested to pursue is whether the 31 Route similar to the 30 Route (the south of Colfax Federal bus) can be a “part time” downtown bus.