The Denver area can proudly boast of its convenient and extensive public transportation system. It offers an ever-growing light rail system, wide-spread bus stops, Call-n-Ride, Ski-n-Ride and Skyride to the airport. Not only are travelers saving the planet, they are experiencing the joy of avoiding the interstate rush hour madness. There is something very satisfying about a rider zipping by on the light rail train while bypassing the stopped rush hour traffic. Sit back and let someone else do the driving while you use the extra time to finish up a presentation or catch up on the hottest new book. According to frequent light rail user Nielle McCammon, “Even when I get my car back in working condition, I will absolutely continue to take Denver’s public transportation because of its convenience and affordability.” As fabulous as our city’s RTD system is, there are some key helpful hints and tactics that will ensure a smooth ride around town.
RTD offers some great tools on its website to map out routes for easy traveling. The RTD website offers a fabulous Trip Planner where it is as easy as plugging in the information such as address, intersection and even landmark for a step-by-step map. Google Maps can also be helpful in mapping out the details to get around town with ease. Google actually makes it simple by entering the starting location, ending location and choosing the walking icon. It will actually provide the bus number and line number.
Take advantage of social media to stay informed about the latest news, route changes and promotional offers. There is always something going on in the Mile High City, and social media alerts can give a traveler the head’s up on busy travels times due to Broncos, Rockies and other special events. Sign up for email alerts for the latest news, route changes and promotional offers. Follow RTD on Twitter at @RideRTD and on Facebook.
Find out if your company provides a stipend that can be used for public transit. Come prepared with ear buds or headphones. There is always the possibility of the loud cellphone talkers who share far more than anyone wants to hear. Make a habit to ensure the cell phones and iPods are fully charged before the bus trek. Be aware of your surroundings at all time. The clientele of public transportation can range from business professionals to some interesting characters. Speaking of interesting characters, people watching is an entertaining way to pass the time during the long ride home.
Bus, Light Rail and special services fares can be found on RTD’s website. Tickets and passes can be purchased online or at light rail vending machines. Put in a little research as there are discounts to be had for college students, seniors 65 and over, people with disabilities and Medicare recipients. Paying can be as easy as “tap and go” with smart cards for college students and EcoPasses for other travelers who are offered unlimited light rail and bus rides.
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Skyride is a relaxing and affordable way to get to the airport for those who want to avoid the high prices of DIA’s parking lots, or for those who just don’t have someone to get them to the airport at all hours of the day and night. Most Skyride trips take an hour or less and travelers are dropped off right at the terminal.
Call-n-Ride is another affordable and convenient service where reservations can be made for personalized pick-up service within certain RTD service areas.
Colleen Bement is a freelance writer covering all things Denver. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.