Business Center

Commuter Highlight: Bussing to work with Jeff Prillwitz

By: Sydney Lund, Transportation Demand Management Intern

September 4, 2019

Here at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), we are working to enhance the quality of life and the environment of the citizens of Colorado by creating an integrated transportation system that focuses on safely moving people and goods by offering convenient linkages among modal choices. Many CDOT employees are serving as role models for their commitment to commuting to work by walking, biking, taking transit, or carpooling.

This week's commuter highlight is Jeff Prillwitz!

Jeff Prillwitz is the Project Manager for Bustang Outrider and works at CDOT’s Headquarters in Denver. Jeff was an RTD bus driver for 10 years and has been an active transit rider for the last 30 years. He has only driven to the CDOT HQ/R1 office one time! Read below for an interview with Jeff for some great tips and information about Denver’s transit system.

Jeff stands outside of the RTD bus with his EcoPass.

How do you commute to work?

Most days I ride the RTD bus to work. About once a week I try to ride my bike to work. I ride the 3 Limited bus line, which goes down Alameda and into downtown. Then I transfer on either the 16 or 15 Limited buses, which drop me off right at work. Basically I walk out my door, walk a block to the bus stop, and catch the bus. Then I walk about a block from where I get off in downtown to my next bus stop, which drops me off right at CDOT.

How long does your commute usually take you?

It takes just under an hour in the morning. In the afternoon it is a little longer because the schedules are different.

Why do you prefer to commute to work by bus?

I am a transit geek. I worked at RTD for 22 years before I came to CDOT. I started out as a driver, worked my way through college, and then went into the management tier at RTD.

When I travel I always take transit just because it is easier for me. It is just relaxing and I don’t have to worry about other drivers on the road. I just do not like driving in the city, even though I was a bus driver for 10 years, which might be why I do not like driving. For me, commuting by bus is just simple. In the morning, I read all my emails and I catch up on the news. In the evening I usually read a book. Sometimes I just relax and look out the window on the way home. A few days ago I saw a herd of deer on my bus commute. I doubt all the people in their cars, staring at their phones or the bumper in front of them, saw the deer.

Jeff stands in front of an RTD bus after a group bicycle ride.

Do you ever drive to work?

My personal vehicle is a 2004 Chevy Pickup. I bought it new, and I have not hit 100,000 miles on it yet. It has only been driven to the CDOT HQ/R1 facility once.

What tips would you give to other CDOT employees about using public transportation?

First, I would say to put away a lot of the preconceptions people have about riding the bus. Some people worry that public transportation might be dangerous, dirty, or unreliable. That simply is not true. Of all the miles I have ridden and driven an RTD bus, which is close to 30 years, I can think of maybe four or five times I have had a breakdown of some sort and a couple of accidents. The bus is very reliable. Another tip is to always bring your umbrella since the weather can be unpredictable.

I would also say check your ego. One time when I was in London, Queen Elizabeth was riding the trains there. She went online and bought her senior discount ticket. So if Queen Elizabeth can take public transit, anyone at CDOT can! I always used that story when I was training other RTD bus drivers because you never know who is going to be on your bus or train. When you are riding the bus in Denver during peak hours, the passengers are all working people. On our Bustang routes, we have passengers in Aspen who keep private planes at the airport and ride the Bustang bus into Denver.

How do you find the best routes?

Do your research and talk to people that already ride the bus. Sometimes, the RTD Trip Planner might not give you the best route options. I would recommend looking for routes by looking at bus maps or looking at the transit feature in Google Maps. That way you can compare the routes and find the best one for you.

How do you get around on the weekend?

It depends on where I am going on the weekends. The weekends are when my vehicle does get most of its miles. On the weekends sometimes I go out to the mountains or to the eastern prairie, which is when I will use my car.

On weekends, if I do go anywhere downtown, I will take RTD. I usually take a different route since the routes are different on the weekends. I like to go to the Forney Museum of Transportation and the A-Line has a stop about two blocks away from it. If I go to a Rockies game I will always take the train or the bus to the game. If I ever fly anywhere I will take RTD to the airport because it is quicker and I do not have to worry about driving all the way out to the airport.

If you could be any mode of transportation, which would you be?

What I would like to use is the Star Trek Transporter. I would like to just beam off somewhere I would like to go.

Interested in commuting to work by walking, biking, or taking transit? Check out these biking and transit resources designed to help you commute to work.

Check out our past commuter highlight interviews here.

Do you commute to work by means other than driving alone? If so, we would like to highlight you! Send an email to Sydney Lund to be highlighted as a part of our commuter highlights series.