Denver’s planning to expand its ‘microtransit’ service to Globeville and Elyria-Swansea

The service will be like the “Montbello Connector,” which has provided thousands of free and on-demand rides.
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This minivan is one of a handful of vehicles that make up Montbello Connector, a free city-funded transit service for that neighborhood. City leaders plan to start a similar service in Globeville, Elyria and Swansea soon.
Courtesy of DOTI

The City and County of Denver wants to inch a little bit further into the public transit game by launching a new "microtransit" service in Globeville and Elyria-Swansea.

Staffers at the Denver Office of Transportation and Infrastructure hope to start the service this fall, per a city factsheet. It will be modeled on the city's "Montbello Connector," launched in the fall of 2021, which provides free on-demand rides using a tiny fleet of just three vehicles.

The Montbello service has seen its ridership more than double from just 1,672 rides in November 2021 to 4,037 in July 2022. Transportation office spokesperson Vanessa Lacayo said the department is proposing to extend the Montbello service for two more years, expand its service area, and start up a similar service in Globeville and Elyria-Swansea.

A City Council committee will vote on that $3.16 million plan on Tuesday.

The city is also collecting public feedback in English and Spanish to improve the new service, Lacayo wrote in an email.

"It's important for us to hear from the community so we understand how best to model it in a way that meets GES's needs," she wrote.

While most public transit service in Denver is provided by the independent Regional Transportation District, RTD has struggled to meet the region's needs, including Denver's, which has a goal of increasing overall commuters' transit use to 15 percent.

The city's nascent transit services, authorized under a 2019 vote, are effectively filling in gaps in RTD service. And they are also connecting residents to RTD's network: Lacayo said one of the top destinations for the Montbello Connector is RTD's Peoria rail station.

The city chose Montbello, Globeville and Elyria-Swansea because its research suggested people in those places needed more mobility. Household incomes in those neighborhoods are lower than the city average, and they are relatively difficult to navigate without a car.

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