DENVER — United in Orange and in frustration, some die-hard Broncos fans would rather be reliving their favorite game moments than worrying about the now suspended RTD BroncosRide.
But this season, getting to a game make take a little Mile High magic.
"I'll try to get my son to drop me off and pray that I can get somebody to pick me up," said Carol Neved, who was one of many to reach out to Contact Denver7 to alert Broncos fans to the change.
For decades, the popular BroncosRide bus service picked up an estimated 8,000-10,000 riders and dropped them off in special lanes right by the stadium.
This week, RTD announced the service, which was suspended during the last pandemic season, has been indefinitely suspended.
"Right now, we are operating on a pandemic service plan," said Tina Jaquez, an RTD spokeswoman. "When COVID hit, obviously, we had less passengers and less customers riding, so we had to adjust our schedule. Over the year and a half, we have reinstated some service as we've seen some recovery, and we'll continue to do that as we see recovery from the pandemic. But right now, it's really important that we allocate our resources to services where we're serving customers who are essential workers or areas where people don't have other modes of commuting. So, it's really about balancing priorities and where our resources go."
But a memo obtained by Contact Denver7 showed that even before the pandemic, RTD planned to suspend BroncosRide because of bus driver shortages.
Jaquez said RTD will be increasing service on light rail and bus lines for game days to compensate for the loss of BroncosRide.
"We feel that we offer some good options for people to get to the stadium," she said. "It's not the same as BroncosRide., but we do have a lot of options."
Mona Moffatt's family has had Broncos season tickets since 1960 and the memories to go with them.
"I was standing literally on the sideline. And [ John Elway] threw the ball so hard that Vance hits me and knocks flat. It's the only time I've ever been tackled," Moffatt said with a smile.
Now, she said getting to the stadium without BroncosRide will not be easy for her and other people with disabilities who would have to walk significantly further from light rail and bus stops.
"I have some orthopedic issues, and I tested [the walk] last week. It's a good 30-minute, one-way walk," Moffatt said. "There are a couple of people that sit in my row that are carrying oxygen tanks around. You can't walk very far carrying a big concentrator that weighs 20 pounds."
When Moffatt reached out to her RTD regional director, Bobby Dishell, he suggested in an email that that she should "reach out to the Broncos, whose stadium was paid for by the taxpayers, to see if they are willing to chip in to help make a program like the Bronco ride a reality."
Jon Applegate, the Broncos director of events and booking, said that had not been discussed in meetings with RTD.
"I was surprised because all the communication we've had up to this point with RTD has been regarding their operator shortage," Applegate said. "We are trying to free up extra parking inventory to help as many fans as we're able."
Applegate said the team is creating a carpool-only parking lot where the BroncosRide buses used to park, which will cost $30 for cars with four fans or more.
Moffatt and her friends are now worried they will have to miss games because they can't afford to pay for parking or walk long distances to the stadium.
"I think they need to be told to start it up again," Moffatt said. "How are all these thousands of people going to get to the game?"
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