RTD provides DU students with free, smart transportation options


The Regional Transportation Department (RTD) has partnered with the University of Denver in recent years to provide students and staff with free light rail and bus passes.

Using student tuition, DU buys light rail passes for all of its undergraduate students and some of its gradate students and staff at a discounted price from RTD. The passes then permit free transportation for all light rail and buses throughout the city, giving pass holders other, less expensive transportation options apart from vehicles.

RTD transportation benefits and convenience

“Why is simple, because it’s the right thing to do, ethically and morally for both the university, society, for the environment and for the students,” says Buddy Knox, University of Denver Parking Director. “Issuing RTD passes and negotiating that contract with RTD was the right thing to do.”

Knox also emphasized the impact of single-occupancy vehicles and their effects on the environment and recognized society’s growing reliance on fossil fuels for transportation. He called upon DU students and others to begin utilizing public transportation to lessen the effect of pollution and save non-renewable resources.

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Students use light rail to get to class

Many students who work off campus also use the light rail and buses instead of driving and find the RTD pass useful.

“I work down at Park Meadows mall and it’s really convenient for me to take the light rail to work 3 to 4 days a week,” says Natasia Paukovich, a sophomore biology major.  “It also runs really late, so when I get off after closing shift, I can always get home easily.”

University of Denver Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC) students also rely on light rail when travelling to the Auraria campus for training and meetings.

Michael Bagg, an ROTC cadet and international studies major, relies on the light rail when travelling for armed forces programs off campus and for rest.

“As an ROTC cadet, I have to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to get to the Auraria campus for my training and instead of driving, I get to take a nap for ten minutes.”

New RTD cards measure transportation use

Beginning this year, DU changed the RTD passes from stickers applied to student ID cards to personal cards utilizing a scan feature. Card holders simply scan their card when entering a bus or light rail, allowing DU and RTD to more precisely monitor how often the cards are being used and where card holders most often travel to.

“Now, for the first time, with this new card, where we actually tell RTD we’re getting on and getting off… we now have the ability to measure what’s going on with our RTD usage,” said Knox.

By employing a more accurate portrayal of transportation use, DU Parking Services can then negotiate effective RTD purchase plans and can responsibly delegate tuition funds to free passes in the future.

RTD and the future of public transportation

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DU students choose walking over driving on a nice day

Knox also described a changing historical dynamic as public transportation has become more important in urban, high population environments. He stressed the economic and larger social benefits to using public transportation and outlined a future where personal or family vehicles would be less common.

“The days where you could live in Boulder and work in Denver or commute far away for work are disappearing. It makes sense to live close to where you work or where you go to school.”

By providing DU students with RTD passes, Knox is hoping to change society’s reliance on personal vehicles, starting with a younger generation.

“Until we figure out a way to use the sun and the wind to power our vehicles, we’re trapped with fossil fuels. It’s just not a wise way to travel. We’re hopefully educating all the students at DU to be not only more educated but wiser as well.”

3 Responses to RTD provides DU students with free, smart transportation options

  • Elizabeth Pinkerton
    Elizabeth Pinkerton says:

    You guys created a great informational video, with high quality sound, images, and interviews. Your B-roll was interesting, and provided a nice background to what was being said. There were interesting lines in your video, and still pictures. You did a nice job of identifying who you were interviewing, and your video had a nice beginning, middle, and end. I can tell that you spent time manually setting up the video camera. Everything was in focus, there was nice light, and your audio was especially good. You really paid attention to rule of thirds in setting up the interviews, and making sure that the subject was not looking directly into the camera. Great job guys!

  • Kaitlyn Griffith
    Kaitlyn Griffith says:

    I thought the b-roll you used matched up to the topics your interviewees were discussing really well. I liked that continuity. Your footage was well-lit, but the camera wasn’t level during some of your interviews, making the background tilt a little, which I found kind of distracting. The question slides seemed a bit unprofessional and sort of broke the rhythm of the video, but it might have been necessary to give the video a sense of continuity. A stand-up from one of you might have worked better.

  • Cassie Redlingshafer
    Cassie Redlingshafer says:

    Overall, I thought the video was put together extremely well. The audio was at a good level and the b-roll always matched up to what the interviewees were discussing (specifically with the card-scanning). Besides the videography, the content was also good. It had all the elements of a news story. One suggestion I’d have would be getting more shots of people actually getting on and off the public transportation.

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