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Denver Public Transportation Guide | 🚌 Getting Around Denver Like a Pro

Denver has been named the best place to live in the United States. It isn’t just its beautiful views, outdoor recreation, and craft beer that makes it such a great place to live; it’s also easy to get around!

Does Denver have good public transportation? Denver public transportation is inexpensive, easy, and fairly extensive. WalletHub ranked Denver 12th among the top 100 U.S. cities for public transportation which is impressive when you’re up against New York City and condensed cities like San Francisco and Boston! U.S. News even

Here’s a comprehensive guide to using public transportation in Denver and getting around Denver without a car.

Getting Started with Denver Public Transit

To help you wrap your head around getting around Denver without a car, a quick primer on Denver public transportation options may be helpful.

Regional Transportation District (RTD) operates Denver’s intracity and intercity buses as well as the light rail and commuter rail systems. However, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) also operates an intercity bus system called Bustang to connect the city with other Colorado communities. This service is especially popular with out-of-state skiers and tourists visiting cities like Glenwood Springs.

The main hub for public transit is downtown’s Union Station, a historic railway station built in 1881. You can ride RTD light rail, commuter rail, and buses from the station as well as Greyhound and Amtrak for travel out of the region.

For travel between Denver and its suburbs, you can use the Flatiron Flyer bus rapid transit service from RTD, Bustang, or the light rail system.

Getting Around Denver by Train | Regional Transportation District (RTD)

The most robust type of public transportation in Denver is the light rail and commuter rail system operated by RTD. It’s the 8th largest light rail system in the U.S. by ridership and served 79,000 passengers daily in 2016 before its expansion. There are 50 rail stations throughout metro Denver extending from downtown to the Denver International Airport, Eastlake, Aurora, Arvada, Centennial, Lakewood, Littleton, Wheat Ridge, and more.

RTD Light Rail Fares

There are four fare zones: Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3, and Airport. RTD light rail fare in Denver is based on how many rail zones you travel through during a trip. A local fare to travel on one or two rail zones and three zones is considered a regional fare. Any trip that ends or begins at DEN is an Airport fare.

  • Local rail fare: $3
  • Regional rail fare: $5.25
  • $10.50 for rail travel to Denver International Airport
  • Day pass: $6 local & $10.50 regional
  • Monthly pass: $114/local and $200/regional (discounted monthly pass: $57/local and $99/regional)
  • Discount fare: $1.50/local, $2.60/regional, $5.25/airport

Note that airport zone travel is included in regional day passes and regional monthly passes.

Denver Train Routes & Service Area

RTD operates 1 rail line in Denver, Colorado. The A, B, G, and N lines are commuter rail and the D, E, F, L, R, W, and H lines are light rail. These lines cover 58 miles of track and 44 rail stations.

Union Station in downtown Denver is the main hub for intercity bus and rail travel in the Denver metro area.

  • A Line (University of Colorado) serves Union Station to DEN
  • B Line serves Union Station to Westminster, CO
  • D Line serves 18th & California Station (downtown Denver) to Littleton, CO
  • E Line serves downtown Denver to Lone Tree, CO
  • G Line serves downtown Denver to Wheat Ridge, CO
  • H Line serves 18th & California Station (downtown Denver) to Aurora, CO
  • L Line serves 30th & Downing (Five Points neighborhood) to 16th & Stout (downtown Denver)
  • N Line serves Union Station (downtown Denver) to Thornton, CO
  • R Line serves Lone Tree, CO to Aurora, CO
  • W Line is Union Station (downtown Denver) to Golden, CO

The C Line was suspended in 2021.

You can see the Denver rail system map here.

Tip: use the Next Ride web-based tracking system to track RTD buses, see nearby stops, and predict arrival times.

The RTD rail station at Denver International Airport.

RTD Contact Information

Getting Around Denver by Bus | RTD & Bustang (CDOT)

The RTD Denver bus system offers service at over 10,000 bus stops in nine counties in Greater Denver and Boulder and spread across 38 municipalities. The FasTracks transit expansion approved by voters, North America’s largest transit expansion, added 18 miles of bus service between Boulder and Denver.

Along with its intracity bus system, RTD operates the Flatiron Flyer, a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service that connects Denver with Boulder with stops at Broomsfield, Westminster, Louisville, and Superior.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) operates an intracity bus service called Bustang. This service connects Denver with Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, Gunnison, Craig, and smaller communities in between like Loveland, CO.

Denver Bus Fares

The RTD bus fares are based on a service level system:

  • Unlimited 3-hour bus fare: $3/local and $5.25/regional
  • Day pass: $6 local and $10.50/regional
  • Monthly pass: $114/local and $200/regional
  • Discount fare: $1.50/local and $2.60/regional for 3-hour pass; discounted monthly fare is $57/local and $99/regional
  • Youth fare: $0.90/local and $1.60/regional for a 3-hour pass

Discount fares are available to seniors, Medicare recipients, and individuals with disabilities. The youth discount is for ages 6 to 19.

There are also programs like Neighborhood EcoPass and CollegePass. Neighborhoods and other groups can offer subsidized or discounted RTD passes for residents, students, or employees.

Bustang fares depend on the route. The North Line fare from Denver to Fort Collins, for example, is $10 per ride with discounts for seniors and children.

Denver Bus Routes & Service Area

RTD operates 79 local bus routes in Denver. There are also 6 regional routes, 5 SkyRide routes to the Denver Airport, and 4 Flatiron Flyer routes. You can see the entire RTD bus schedule here.

The Denver Bustang routes include:

  • Fort Collins – Denver
  • Grand Junction – Denver
  • Colorado Springs – Denver
  • Craig – Denver
  • Gunnison – Denver

RTD Contact Information

Bustang Contact Information

Getting Around Downtown Denver

You can get around downtown Denver without a car with the free MetroRide bus service operated by RTD. The line offers 14 stops on a roundtrip course between the Union Station bus concourse and the Civic Center Station.

The Free MallRide line travels down 16th Street Mall with stops at every block between Union Station and Civic Center Station. This line is popular with tourists as well as Denver residents enjoying a night out. The shuttle bus allows you to easily visit the galleries, theater, shops, and restaurants along the mile-long mall.

There are more than 60 bus routes that go into downtown Denver, many of which stop at or close to Union Station and Civic Center Station.

You can also use the Denver B-cycle program. Denver’s bike sharing program has 700 bikes and 88 stations across 10 central Denver neighborhoods in and around downtown. After all, Denver is one of the top 10 bike-friendly cities in America!

Denver Public Transportation FAQ

How do I get to downtown Denver from the airport?

The RTD A-Line travels from the Denver Airport Station to downtown Denver/Union Station. The train station is next to the Westin Denver International Airport Hotel.

How do I find out about the Denver Airport Shuttle?

There are many options for transportation and shuttles to and from the Denver Airport (DIA). All these share-ride services can be viewed by clicking here.

How do I get from Denver to Boulder by bus?

RTD Flatiron Flyer Route FF1 travels between downtown Denver and the Downtown Boulder Station. The RTD SkyRide bus runs from the Denver Airport to Boulder Junction.

How much is public transportation in Denver?

Public transit in Denver is affordable. Unlimited 3-hour passes on bus and rail start at $3. Monthly RTD passes are $114 to $200 with discounts available for seniors, youth, and more.

Public transportation in Denver makes it easy to commute downtown to work, even from surrounding suburbs, or enjoy the city’s amenities without a car. Now that you have a good understanding of Denver public transportation options, are you ready to explore the city on your own? If you’re planning to relocate to Denver, call Wasatch Moving Company for a free estimate. Our team of moving specialists can help you get settled in and ready to hit the ground running.

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