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Rail News: Passenger Rail

COVID-19 surge, labor shortage impact RTD service

The operations team’s “people power” is being severely affected by the omicron variant, said General Manager and CEO Debra Johnson.
Photo – RTD


The Regional Transportation District (RTD) of Denver is struggling to provide its regularly scheduled service due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and a shortage of workers.

The operations team’s “people power” is being severely affected by the omicron variant as well as the widespread labor shortage in covering open shifts, said General Manager and CEO Debra Johnson said in a press release.

"We are doing our best to maintain service within our existing resource constraints," Johnson said. "We know this situation creates difficulty for our customers, and we apologize for any inconvenience they are experiencing due to these circumstances that are beyond our control."

The omicron variant, which is thought to be more contagious than previous strains, has brought positive cases to a high since the start of the pandemic, RTD officials said, leading to many employees’ inability to work due to testing positive.

Between Dec. 15 and Jan. 5, the agency recorded 77 new employee cases spanning all facilities and operating divisions. There are many existing vacancies in front-line positions, such as rail operators, technicians and mechanics. RTD announced a $4,000 hiring bonus in November 2021.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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