RTD Bus & Light Rail
|Owner||Regional Transportation District|
|Locale||Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area|
|Number of lines||127|
|Website||RTD - Bus Service|
|Number of vehicles||969|
|Owner||Regional Transportation District|
|Locale||Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area|
|Transit type||Light rail|
|Number of lines||6|
|Number of stations||46|
|Website||RTD - Light Rail|
|Began operation||October 7, 1994|
|Number of vehicles||172|
|System length||47 mi (76 km)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
RTD Bus & Light Rail is a transit system in the Denver, Colorado metropolitan area. It is operated by the Regional Transportation District (RTD). It currently operates 79 local, 16 express, 16 regional, 11 limited, and 5 skyRide bus routes plus some special services. It also includes 6 light rail lines with 46 stations and 47 miles (76 km) of track.
Bus service in Denver dates back to 1924, when Denver Tramway began the first bus between Englewood and Fort Logan. Buses had completely replaced the previously expansive streetcar system in metro Denver by 1950. However cars were becoming a larger part of life and ridership was declining. From 1969 to 1971, Denver Tramway required the sponsorship of the City and County of Denver to continue service. In 1971 with aging equipment, low revenues, and lackluster ridership the Denver Tramway Company transferred all of its assets to city-owned Denver Metro Transit.
In 1969 the Regional Transportation District (RTD) was created in the 47th session of the Colorado General Assembly to provide public transportation to five additional counties in the metropolitan area. It acquired privately owned companies, improved service frequency, and expanded to routes that commercial carriers previously operated such as airport buses.
In July 1974, Denver Metro Transit became part of RTD and under the new banner ridership began to increase.
RTD's first light rail line, a 5.3-mile (8.5 km) section of what is now the D Line, opened on Friday, October 7, 1994. It operated with free service for that half day and the first weekend, with revenue service starting on October 10. It was estimated that more than 200,000 passengers rode the new system during its two-and-a-half day opening weekend, when the fleet comprised only 11 Siemens SD-100 rail cars.
Since that time, several additional light rail lines have been opened. An 8.7-mile (14.0 km) southwest extension to Mineral Avenue in Littleton opened in July 2000, and the 1.8-mile Platte Valley extension to Denver Union Station opened in April 2002. An additional 19-mile (31 km) Southeast Corridor extension along I-25 to Lone Tree and a branch along I-225 to Parker Road were completed in November 2006 as part of Denver's T-REX project.
As of April 2013, the system had 170 light rail vehicles, serving 47 miles (76 km) of track.
The primary RTD services are scheduled bus and light rail routes. Most bus routes are divided into Local, Express, and Regional service levels. Light rail is divided in four zones: A, B, C, & D. Local service is service within two zones, express service is within three zones, and regional service is within four zones.
The current light rail lines are:
- C Line: Littleton/Mineral to Union Station
- D Line: Littleton/Mineral to 30th/Downing
- E Line: Lincoln to Union Station
- F Line: Lincoln to 18th/California & 18th/Stout
- H Line: Nine Mile to 18th/California & 18th/Stout
- W Line: Denver Union Station to Jeffco Government Center
With the opening of the Southeast Corridor, many regional bus routes that provided service from the North Metro to Denver Tech Center were replaced by service to Union Station and light rail from Union Station to the Belleview light rail station. Several regional bus routes to and from the South Metro were also eliminated by the openings of the Southeast & Southwest Corridors, replaced by feeder routes to light rail.
- G Line: Running from Nine Mile station to Lincoln station, this line was suspended May 3, 2009. With the completion of FasTracks I-225 corridor expansion planned for 2016, the line will resume service.
Special bus services are offered for various purposes. Some of the more popular special services are:
- "call-n-Ride", which provides curb-to-curb service in specific areas. This is similar to taxis.
- "access-a-Ride", which provides transportation for disabled people.
- "FREE MallRide", the 16th Street Mall shuttle; as its name implies, rides on this service are free. The shuttles use compressed natural gas (CNG)/electric hybrid engines.
- "Free MetroRide", which complements the FREE MallRide by offering no charge service from Union Station to Civic Center Station via 19th Street (eastbound) and 18th Street (westbound). MetroRide uses diesel buses from New Flyer
- "skyRide", which provides direct service to Denver International Airport from various locations around the metro area.
- Sporting events service:
- "BroncosRide", which provides direct service to Sports Authority Field at Mile High from various locations around the metro area.
- "RockiesRide", a similar service which provides direct service to Coors Field.
- "RunRide", a similar service which provides direct service to Boulder during the Bolder Boulder 10K road race.
|Local / Limited||Express||Regional|
|Ticketbook (10 rides)||$20.00||$36.00||$45.00|
These fares apply only to the primary services. Special services typically cost more, up to $13 each way for some skyRide routes. Free transfers are available between services going in the same direction, of the same type or cheaper. Passengers may pay for an upgrade to transfer from a lower fare service to a higher fare service, regardless of whether one is special service and the other is not. Discount fares are available to seniors over 65, students ages 6 to 19, people with disabilities and people who receive Medicare.
Major bus stations provide termini for Express and Regional routes. Many Local and Limited routes stop near these stations, making transfers between routes relatively easy. Of the three major bus stations in the RTD system, only one—Union Station—is also served directly by light rail trains. None of the three major bus stations is a Park and Ride facility.
|Station Name||Address||Phone Number|
|Civic Center Station||1550 Broadway, Denver, CO 80202||Lost & Found 303-299-2288|
|Union Station (rail and bus)||1701 Wynkoop Street, Denver, CO 80202||None|
|Boulder Transit Center||1400 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO 80302||Lost & Found 303-442-7332|
Civic Center Station is connected to Union Station via the "FREE MallRide" shuttle service.
Market Street Station (16th and Market Street), a major bus station in the RTD system, was closed permanently on May 11, 2014, after thirty years of continuous use. All bus routes that formerly served Market Street Station were re-routed to the renovated Union Station, four blocks to the northwest.
Light-rail stations serve the light-rail system and many of these stations have gates for bus service also. As of 2014, there are 46 stations on the six lines in the RTD Light Rail system. RTD has adopted specific design standards that are incorporated into its station design, with a specific emphasis on the platform, its transition plaza and the multi-modal access provided for at the facility. Platforms are designed to accommodate four-car trains and may be in either a side, island or side center style. The transition plaza is the area where tickets are purchased and passenger services can be found. Additionally, all stations include works of public art as part of RTD's art-n-Transit program. These works include independent works or as pieces incorporated into the canopies, columns, pavers, windscreens, fencing and landscaping present at all stations.
Park 'n Rides
A number of light-rail stations in the RTD system, as well as a number of bus stops located away from the three major bus stations, are attached to dedicated RTD parking facilities. These are the Park and Ride locations. As of 2014, there are more than 70 RTD Park and Ride facilities with an aggregate total of more than 30,000 parking spaces.
RTD is currently working to build four commuter rail lines, including the East Corridor light rail line to Denver International Airport, and extensions to the Southwest, Southeast and Central corridor lines, via the FasTracks project.
Art on the Light Rail system
In 1977, Colorado passed the Art in Public Places bill which required that 1 percent of all state-funded construction budgets be used to purchase art. About $1 million from the T-REX contingency budget was dedicated to art projects at each of the 13 new southeast corridor light-rail stations as part of RTD's art-n-Transit program.
- Ira Sherman, "Stange Machine," Louisiana/ Pearl.
- Ries Niemi, "Big Boots," Colorado.
- John Goe, "Reflective Discourse," University.
- Gregory Gove, "Connected," Yale.
- Chris Janney, "Harmonic Pass: Denver," Southmoor.
- Richard Elliott, "Thunder Over the Rockies," Belleview.
- Christopher Weed, "Windswept," Dayton.
- Dwight Atkinson, "Yet Another Way To Know That Nature Will Eventually Win," Nine Mile.
- Wopo Holup, "Orchard Memory," Orchard.
- Michael Clapper, "Nucleus," Arapahoe at Village Center.
- John McEnroe, "Fools Gold," Dry Creek.
- Emmett Culligan, "Plow," County Line.
- Ray King, "Sun Stream," Lincoln.
Design team artists who worked on windscreen benches, railings, bike racks and canopy columns at all stations were Susan Cooper and Rafe Ropek.
- "APTA Transit Ridership Report". APTA. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
- Pacific RailNews, January 1995, p. 68. Pentrex. ISSN 8750-8486.
- "RTD - Facts and Figures". RTD. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- Gutfreund, Owen (2004). Twentieth century sprawl : highways and the reshaping of the American Landscape. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195141412.
- Special Rides
- FREE MallRide
- Route MALL
- "RTD — Fares". Retrieved 2013-01-05.
- "Station design criteria". RTD Design Guidelines & Criteria, Light Rail Design Criteria. Regional Transportation District. November 2005. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
- "art-n-Transit: A rider's guide to public art on RTD's transit system". Regional Transportation District. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
- "List of Park-n-Ride locations". Regional Transportation District. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- Kyle MacMillan. "Lawmaker working to patch hole in "1 percent for art" statute". Denver Post.