Over the course of just four days, Regional Transportation District buses were involved in three accidents that killed a total of four people. Those four days alone — from April 3 through last Tuesday — produced more fatalities from RTD bus collisions than any full year from 2005 through 2009.
A review by The Denver Post of data on bus collisions reported by RTD and the Federal Transit Administration’s National Transit Database shows the Denver-area transit agency had 39 collisions in 2005, 35 in 2006, 41 in 2007, 19 in 2008 and 53 last year.
During that period, bus collisions at RTD led to at least six fatalities, according to information supplied to the national database. Yet in two years, 2005 and 2007, there were no fatalities in accidents involving buses operated by RTD drivers or the agency’s private contractors, according to the data review.
RTD’s safety record is typically on par with transit operations in Seattle, Houston, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and San Diego. RTD reacted almost immediately to the recent accidents by having street supervisors give safety briefings to all drivers pulling buses out of RTD garages.
Denver police say a driver for RTD contractor Veolia Transportation, ran a red light at East Eighth Avenue and Lincoln Street on April 3 and smashed into two vehicles. The driver was charged with two counts of careless driving resulting in death and 11 counts of careless driving resulting in injury.
On Monday, a 78-year-old man apparently was struck and killed by a bus as the vehicle pulled away from a stop in Aurora, and the next night, a bicyclist collided with an RTD bus in Lafayette, critically injuring the 42-year-old cyclist. He died the next day.