DPS Students Urge RTD to Get On Board with Affordable Bus Fares for Students
March 6, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2017
DENVER— Yesterday, students from Denver Public Schools (DPS) testified at the Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) board meeting to urge Board Members to allow DPS and the City of Denver to purchase 10,000 bus passes for student use in the 2017-2018 school year.
“We’re the people being affected by this,” said Rogelio Munoz, a junior. “It’s easy to sit at a desk all day and say no to this. But you don’t know how some families struggle to pay for a bus pass.”
“One of my friends has to decide between paying for the bus and buying breakfast,” added Camilo Del Valle, a junior.
Last year, through a mill levy override, Denver voters overwhelmingly approved increased funding for expanded transportation options for Denver students. DPS and the City of Denver have been working with RTD to negotiate a fee structure that would make the best use of taxpayer dollars and go furthest in meeting student need for affordable public transportation. Time is running out for a deal to be reached for the 2017-2018 school year.
“Growing up in the Cole neighborhood, and knowing that a lot of people wanted to come to school in this neighborhood, I knew a lot of students had to take the bus, but sometimes they didn’t have money to get on the bus,” said Patty Munoz, a sophomore. “Everything is tied into being able to get to school.”
Students pointed out that access to affordable public transportation can mean the difference between being able to go to the library, museums and to summer jobs. By giving Denver students discounted rates similar to those currently being used by businesses and colleges along the front range, DPS could triple the number of passes they are able to buy with taxpayer dollars.
DPS junior Hadyn Roberts asked RTD Board Members to consider what will happen to students like him if RTD continues to delay giving DPS students affordable bus passes instead of finding a solution that will make the best use of taxpayer dollars and help the most Denver kids.
“It can end by nothing changing and me paying for my bus pass next month, through a job I will have to work at this summer, to pay for my bus passes for my senior year,” said Roberts. “I can end up fearful again on how I'm going to get money to pay for the next bus pass for me or my sister and even my brother later down the road. Or it could end with me sitting at the bus station, with a paid for bus pass, headed to school or my SAT prep classes in hopes for a future only focused on education.