Boulder by Bus
For Earth Day, RTD unveiled its new University of Colorado A line. This train, offering frequent and rapid service from Denver’s Union Station to Denver International Airport, is one of the most recent in RTD’s efforts to connect the front range through public transportation. While this progress is most definitely exciting, I am frequently reminded by my peers that even the current bus and train lines remain a mystery.
Boulder is home to a fantastic transit system. With 13 local routes and 7 major regional and commuter lines, getting around the front range without a car is really very easy. Why then do so few Boulderites take advantage of this? It’s understandably overwhelming. Trying to find your way around the city on routes you’ve never taken before can be stressful. If you’re new to Boulder’s transit system, fear not. It will all be okay.
The first step to riding the bus is figuring out where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Both Google Maps and RTD’s Trip Planner provide information about the routes and schedules. Just plug in your destination and your desired arrival or departure time, and you’re set.
There are a few routes that are handy to know. The Skip services Broadway from Fairview high school to Front Range Drive in North Boulder. It’s a great way to explore Boulder’s main category. FF buses, which replaced BV routes in January, serve as commuter busses between Boulder and Denver. If you’re looking for a way to skip traffic on the way to work, these busses are your best friends. The Hop is another essential route. Whether you want to see a show on the Hill at the Fox, do a little shopping on Pearl, or grab some food on the 29th street mall, this vibrantly colored bus will get you there.
Now that you’ve figured out where to go and how to get there, it’s time to execute your flawless plan. Fare is $2.60 for local busses and $4.50 for regional routes. If worrying about carrying exact change isn’t your idea of fun, there are other options ranging from prepaid ticket books to annual Eco-passes. For more information about these, visit http://www.rtd-denver.com/Fares.shtml.
For those of you who already have Eco-passes through your employer, school or neighborhood, follow the “tap and show” routine. Touch your pass to the card reader, listen for the ding, and show it to the driver. Easy as can be.
Taking it to the Next Level:
If you’re feeling confident at this point, why not take advantage of Boulder’s great bike and bus integration system. For those of you who want to bring your bikes with you, all busses have bike racks on front. If you’re more inclined to leave your bike at the station, Bus-then-Bike shelters as well as Bike lockers are available to keep your two wheeled steed safe. If you’d prefer to borrow a bike, B-Cycle rentals are available at most major stations and hubs.
It’s understandable to be stressed by the prospect of public transportation. If in doubt, drivers are happy to answer any questions and direct you to the right route or stop. If you’re still a bit skeptical, visit RTD’s step-by-step guide for more information. Enjoy Boulder without worrying about traffic or parking. Ride the bus and arrive in style.
Pro-tip: If you take advantage of the wonderful Sky-ride service to DIA, remember the driver. It takes a lot of work to stay smiley while crouching under the bus handling people’s baggage. A tip is always appreciated.