DENVER – Roads were more congested Tuesday but few other problems were reported in the second day a strike by mass-transit workers.
With no new contract negotiations scheduled, striking workers rallied outside closed train stations. The Regional Transportation District operated about 45 percent of its normal bus service schedule Tuesday, but light rail operations were shut down.
Paul Peterson of the Colorado Department of Transportation said traffic was moderate during the Tuesday morning commute and there were few accidents.
But with more people than usual driving, parking was at a premium. Some spots in private lots went for $50 Monday when thousands flocked downtown to watch the Colorado Rockies play the Arizona Diamondbacks on opening day and later the Colorado Avalanche take on the Chicago Blackhawks.
For full sports coverage, go to FOXSports.com.
The transit system averages about 275,000 rides per weekday.
Public school officials allowed high schoolers to hitch rides on school buses that transport physically handicapped students or on district buses that deliver elementary or middle schoolers near their high school.
The strike meant more money for Ross Alexander, president of Denver-Boulder Yellow Cab. "The phones are ringing. There's no doubt about it," said Alexander. "The drivers are having a feeding frenzy now."
While traffic on Denver's highways moved normally with some reported backups on off-ramps, Aurora resident Lauren Barela complained that her commute took an hour and 20 minutes, instead of her usual 45 minute bus ride.
"I won't be able to do this for too long, maybe a week. It's just taking me way too long," said Barela, 24, who rides the bus to save on gas and parking.
Union leaders had recommended approval of the transportation authority's contract, which included a wage hike of $1.80 an hour over three years in 15-cent raises every quarter, plus increases in health benefits. However, 55 percent of workers rejected the offer in a Sunday vote, triggering the strike.
"We have talked to both sides and urged them to find common ground as quickly as possible. We are hopeful that the situation will be resolved soon," said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.
The state Labor Department has notified the union that the strike would not jeopardize public safety and Gov. Bill Owens has no plans to intervene, according to his spokesman, Dan Hopkins.