Without a doubt, and it has been said before, my favorite ax to grind is Colorado’s Regional Transport District. Seemingly resolute in their determination to prove that contracting out what should be a public utility to the lowest bidders actually undermines the lauded efficiencies of capitalism, they almost stand in direct defiance of America’s predominant worldview. It’s a case study as to why certain industries should never be run as a profit-motivated business.
It’s like a satire of a transit agency. Their trains are better vessels to commit suicide with than commute to work in. I’ve met heroin addicts more punctual than the overworked and underpaid operators and the construction and opening of new lines goes about as smoothly as rubbing your cock on a belt sander. It’s trash. It’s for the birds. Their board of directors ought to be flayed to ribbons, smoked and cured, and then turned into birdcage liner. A loosely-affiliated network of Romanian gypsy cab dispatchers could replace them with better results, a higher level of customer satisfaction, and less life-threatening stab wounds.
But in regards to the citizenry of Arvada complaining about the long-awaited, infinitely delayed G-Line testing process, for once I’m going to do the unthinkable and defend the absolute bane of my existence. My unyielding, vicious crusade will briefly take a knee to concentrate on the flank of another front, a group so vile I hate them even more than the tax scam artists at RTD: the people of Arvada, Colorado.
If you’ve never lived or worked in Arvada, let me break it down for you: everyone here is either 91 years-old with completely nothing to do or 12 and-a-half with completely nothing to do. They roll up the sidewalks at about ten at night, making the only people still awake in town cops looking for the seventeen drunk white supremacists driving around after hanging out at a strip-mall dive bar that is named after the shopping center it’s nestled into. There are no jobs outside of short-lived retail stores run by former stay-at-home moms needing a pet project, the corporate service industry (or smaller restaurants barely fighting off their seventh sexual harassment lawsuit), or wiping the shit out of the asses of the generation that ruined this country (but somehow still own every rental property in the metro area not gobbled up by some Air B&B Techbro from Riverside, CA or scummy housing flipper) in the various retirement and nursing homes that dot the post-farming community landscape. Any quaint charm said farming industry might have had is disintegrated by the view of four starving, token horses the property owner keeps alive while he waits for a development company to buy him out and build a new gaudy subdivision with substandard building materials. If you’re a licensed EMT, you can work for one of the 30 private urgent care facilities, where you drive an ambulance around town annoying everybody while you cart out the aged dead at rates unseen since the Black Plague. Continue reading →
noun: highwayman; plural noun: highwaymen
a man, typically on horseback, who held up travelers at gunpoint in order to rob them.
When you get back on a sub-par metropolitan public transit system, especially after a brief respite, there’s sometimes new nuances and customs to learn. I’ve detailed the bad taste in my mouth Colorado’s Regional Transportation District has left after thirteen years of residency and service before, but my most recent return to this town’s buses and trains during arguably the hottest summer this city has ever seen has left me shaking my head in a puzzled, Kafkaesque bewilderment. As the city pushes more and more poor and working class people out, forcing longer commutes, RTD is pushing another fare hike and aggressively pursuing so-called “fare dodgers” on the light rail lines. I don’t know why I even let myself be surprised anymore.
I’ve prepared a graph.
Anecdotally speaking, the vast majority of people I’ve seen ticketed are either underage kids with expired transfers who would be riding on economically negligible fares anyhow, commuters who chanced it instead of missing a train because of slow ticket kiosks and validation processes, and regular, every day people who paid for the “wrong fare.” Armed men, sometimes uniformed security contractors and sometimes plainclothes city police, will board the trains from “random” stops and like hall monitors checking to make sure you’re allowed to be going to the bathroom, pace the aisles checking tickets. If you’re not squared away, they take your identification, take your picture, and put you in a database with a warning. If you’re already in there, you’ll get a ticket for more than $100.
Of course this happened to me.
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As both a longtime Northwestern Denver resident and a self-sabotaging, economically disadvantaged proletarian, public transit development in Colorado is something I pay a lot of attention to. I’m on my second car and I didn’t learn how to drive until I was 19, which was almost ten years ago, and I didn’t own a car until I was almost 21. From about 15 on, I rode Denver’s buses and trains for work, play, and everything in between. One conclusion I think many of my fellow riders can agree on is that RTD, Denver’s Regional Transport District, is fucking horrible.
Much of my early usage with Twitter was primarily to antagonize the intern running the RTD account. Buses very rarely run on time or don’t come at all. More often than not, a trip with more than one transfer is going to get screwed up, and that makes using public transit as a way to reliably commute almost impossible. Unless you’re planning on leaving an hour earlier, which compounds how horrific RTD’s metro transit routing network actually is: an accurate anecdotal estimation is that for every 10-15 minutes it might take to drive somewhere, you can count on at least an hour on a bus. My commute is about a thirty minute drive. Once you factor in the walking, due to the fact that both my destination and my home don’t have have any direct bus service, using public transportation for my commute takes nearly three and a half hours. One way. Inclimate weather? Go fuck yourself. Continue reading →