Every day, I take the bus to and from work. I’d like to say I do it to save on gas. And I do. But I also do it so I can read, write text messages, and spend a few minutes of each day pretending I live in a city like New York or San Francisco. But this week my bus dreams have been scattered. In attempts to manage street closures, protester interruptions, and Secret Service special requests, RTD service has become a stop-and-go mess. Monday, it took an hour to go my usual 15-minute route. And, yesterday at 6 p.m., 17th Avenue was so blocked with traffic that several of my co-riders and I ditched the bus in favor of walking home.
I don’t think that RTD should be held responsible for this chaos. It had the great challenge of changing its usual schedules, and then quickly teaching both RTD regulars and out-of-towners to adapt to that schedule. But, while RTD may be blameless, that doesn’t negate the fact that Denver’s public transportation has colored the DNC for many people–not just me. Delegates staying in hotels in Englewood complain that long light rail commutes have made it difficult for them to participate in the convention events–or to get back to their hotel rooms. Similarly, out-of-town partiers have criticized the city’s lack of late-night cabs, which sent them home earlier and made Denver’s party scene a bit lamer than New York, Boston, or San Francisco. And, while that may be true, I will be happy when Denver’s public transportation returns to normal next week. But, I do hope that the city hears the convention-goers’ complaints–because Denver could use more taxi cabs.