Commuting Solutions Launches Regional Challenge to Spur Flatiron Flyer Ridership

In partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Regional Transportation District (RTD), Commuting Solutions is launching a regional challenge to grow ridership on the Flatiron Flyer from RTD, the region’s first-ever Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service connecting the Denver and Boulder downtowns. 

The Flatiron Flyer Ridership Challenge invites people from the Boulder and Denver metro region to skip car traffic and take the Flatiron Flyer anywhere they need to go along the U.S. 36 corridor—to work, to school, or even to explore all that the Boulder-Denver region has to offer. Here’s a look at what you should know about this innovative transportation service and ways you can participate in the upcoming challenge.

What is the Flatiron Flyer?

The Flatiron Flyer is the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service to connect Denver with the northwest metro region’s businesses, federal institutions, 1stBank Center and the University of Colorado Boulder. Riders have access to downtown Boulder, downtown Denver, other stops along the U.S. 36 Corridor, the Anschutz Medical Campus, along with connections to Denver International Airport and other parts of the Denver metro area.

The Flatiron Flyer provides service to six transit stations along U.S. 36 and uses the Express Lanes to provide more reliable, frequent and predictable service. The service runs every 15 minutes during weekday peak hours to and from Union Station and Downtown Boulder. To ride, customers can park their vehicles or bikes at the transit stations along the routes or use the available bike rack on the bus.

Tell me more about the Ridership Challenge.

The Flatiron Flyer Ridership Challenge is a two-month campaign launched in celebration of this one-of-a-kind transportation service. The campaign is meant to highlight the exceptional access that the service yields along the U.S. 36 corridor. 

Starting April 22, Commuting Solutions will provide a free RTD Regional Day Pass ticket to first-time riders to try the Flatiron Flyer. During the Challenge, which will run until June 28, all riders will have a chance to win a $150 Amazon Gift Card when they record their Flatiron Flyer trips using DRCOG’s My Way to Go commuting platform. 

How can I claim my free pass?

First-time Flatiron Flyer riders interested in claiming a free RTD day pass can email info@commutingsolutions.org with the subject line “Regional Day Pass.” 

Why should I ride the Flatiron Flyer?

There are so many reasons why, but this one tops the list: fresher, cleaner air for everyone. 

Transportation is the largest contributor to Greenhouse Gas emissions in Colorado. When expelled into the atmosphere in large quantities, these emissions have major impacts. In the longer term, emissions destabilize the environment, make environmental disasters more likely, and make our communities more vulnerable to their impacts. Globally and locally, we have all seen an increase in scale and frequency of these disasters.

Acute consequences are felt too. We want to think of Colorado as a place with healthy trees and crispy and clean mountain air, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Due to its geography, the Denver-Boulder metro area experiences some of the worst air quality in North America. In the year prior to the pandemic, the EPA recorded 265 days that Front Range residents persistently inhaled unhealthy air. This included more than 25 Ozone Warnings, that encourage all groups (but particularly those with the most sensitive respiratory systems) to stay indoors. The Colorado Front Range is in severe non-attainment of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) air quality standards and Gov. Jared Polis’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap calls for reductions in Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). 

Emissions from vehicles are a major cause of this pollution, and a reduction in it can have a sizeable, quick impact on the quality of life and quality of air. 

Public transportation produces significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than driving individually. Switching to public transportation not only can you help reduce greenhouse gases, but also can improve air quality, decrease pollutants in the atmosphere, create healthier communities, and much more.

It may not seem that meaningful, but if you and your colleagues switch behaviors just once a week, it can set a great example, encourage a new precedent and make a major impact.

By switching from driving your vehicle to riding the Flatiron Flyer, you could save more than 22 pounds of CO2 each trip! If you and five colleagues switched to riding to work with the Flatiron Flyer, you could prevent more than 100 pounds of CO2 from emitting into the air per week! That is 469.58 pounds per month or 5,635 pounds per year!

How can commuting with the Flatiron Flyer save me money?

With skyrocketing gas prices, trips on the Flatiron Flyer can easily save you money! Not only can you bypass traffic when you ride, but you can also cut down expenses for gas, parking, and vehicle maintenance.

The average car ownership costs exceed $7,000 per year. According to AAA, the average cost of gas is $3.99 a gallon in Colorado (as of March 2022). The average trip along the U.S. 36 corridor is 17 miles. If you replace your car trips with Flatiron Flyer trips at least five days each week, you could save over $135 a month in gas and more than $1,600 a year! * Gas is likely to go up in price before it goes down, so the benefit of taking the Flyer will increase.

*Numbers are based on 20 miles per gallon, with the average cost of gas and miles traveled two ways five days a week.

Is it easy to take the Flatiron Flyer to work, school, or entertainment Venues?

Yes, and it’s so convenient! You can travel in style on the Flatiron Flyer from Boulder to Denver. The Flatiron Flyer service uses the U.S. 36 Express Lanes for faster travel times and accommodates stops in between the two cities. 

What is the service frequency of the Flatiron Flyer?

The Flatiron Flyer provides commuters a reliable ride every four to 15 minutes during peak hours and every 15 minutes during off-peak hours, Monday through Friday.

On the weekends, the Flatiron Flyer offers rides every 15 minutes during Saturday peak hours and every 30 minutes on Sundays.

What are the different Flatiron Flyer routes?

The Flatiron Flyer routes include:

  • Route FF1: All-stations, all day
    • This route travels between Union Station in Denver and Downtown Boulder Station. A bus will run every 15 minutes during peak hours, and every 30 minutes during non-peak hours.
  • Route FF3: Broomfield to Union Station
    • FF3 travels from Broomfield to Union Station in Denver with stops at US 36 & Church Ranch Station and US 36 & Sheridan Station.
    • This mid-way route operates weekdays every 15 minutes in the morning to Union Station and every 15 minutes in the evening returning to US 36 & Broomfield Station.
  • Route FF5: Downtown Boulder Station to Anschutz
    • FF5 provides service between Downtown Boulder Station and Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver, primarily in the a.m. and p.m. peaks.

How Can I Participate in the Flatiron Flyer Ridership Challenge?

It’s easy! Visit commutingsolutions.org/flatiron-flyer-rider-challenge to learn about the My Way to Go platform, and email info@commutingsolutions.org about a free ticket to get started. 

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