Denver RTD implementing security measures at Union Station bus concourse to thwart unwanted activities

March 25, 2022
RTD is collaborating with the local partners and stakeholders on a Reclaiming Union Station steering committee to address unwanted behaviors in the bus concourse and surrounding area.

A timeline for implementation of enhanced security measures at the Denver Union Station (DUS) bus concourse was outlined by Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) General Manager and CEO Debra A. Johnson. 

RTD is collaborating with the city and county of Denver, Denver Police Department and local stakeholders on a Reclaiming Union Station steering committee to address unwanted behaviors in the bus concourse and surrounding area. The facility has become a site for illegal activities including the sale and use of illegal drugs, and the violence and criminal behavior this activity invites. RTD says the situation is increasingly unsafe for customers, employees, businesses and neighbors. 

RTD Transit Police and Denver Police enforcement and presence have been enhanced, but the agency says it recognized that arrests alone will not result in a sustainable solution for enhancing security at the Union Station terminal and campus and throughout downtown. 

“Employees deserve to feel safe and secure while performing their work, as well as customers while using public transit. RTD is committed to enhancing the security of the Denver Union Station bus concourse and surrounding areas through design modifications and initiatives, which will deter unwanted activities,” Johnson said. “While the comprehensive enhancements at DUS, along with an increased police and security presence, will have positive ripple effects throughout the system, these issues impacting the agency are a byproduct of complex, societal issues that RTD alone cannot solve.” 

Based on a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) analysis performed by the Denver Police Department, RTD has committed to pursuing the following short-, mid- and long-term modifications. 

Within the next six months: 

  • Inoperative lighting will be replaced throughout the bus concourse and cleaning will be increased. 
  • Pre-recorded audio announcements will be broadcast in English and Spanish, which will include information on services, fares, public safety and will discourage unwanted activities. 
  • “ENTER” and “EXIT” labels will be affixed to the sliding doors leading to the concourse to facilitate customer flow. 
  • Electrical outlets in walkway areas will be deactivated or covered. 

Six to 12 months: 

  • Lighting will be upgraded. 
  • TV monitors displaying security camera feeds will be installed at the main entrances so that security personnel on the ground can observe activities occurring throughout the facility. 
  • Commuter rail platform stairs will be converted to exit only. 
  • Barriers will be installed to prevent access to areas between the elevators and glass walls at the Wewatta and Chestnut pavilions. 
  • Floor decals and signage will be installed to encourage movement and discourage loitering. 
  • Smoke detectors will be installed in the restrooms. 

In the longer term, one of the more impactful changes will be the implementation of a paid fare area. The paid fare area will ensure that only those individuals in possession of appropriate fare will have access to the bus concourse. Creation of a paid fare area will require a significant change to current operations and will consider how customers can purchase fare media prior to entering the bus concourse.  

Currently customers departing from the concourse purchase fare aboard buses. Turnstiles, exit gates or other barriers must be installed at the entryways to the concourse. To activate the exit gates, all of RTD’s fare media, including paper tickets, transfer passes, mobile tickets, EcoPasses, etc., will need to be updated, and outreach will be required to inform and educate customers of these changes. RTD is also evaluating the addition of rollup doors to the vehicle entrances at the bus ramps, which would further prevent unauthorized access to the concourse.