How to Ride RTD in the Northwest Metro Region

Have you always wanted to give RTD and its many services a try, but you aren’t sure how to navigate the system? If you didn’t grow up using transit or it’s a not a part of your daily life, it can be intimidating but it doesn’t need to be! Once you understand how the RTD system is laid out and what it will look like to ride, you’ll be a regular transit user. Transit is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to travel around the northwest metro region.

How much does it cost to ride RTD?

RTD’s fares are determined by the fare zones and the length of time the pass is good for. The table below provides a breakdown of the fare structure including the discounted rates for Senior Citizens, individuals with disabilities and Medicare recipients.

How do I choose my fare type?

Depending on how long your trip will take and your needs, there are 3 primary types of fares on RTD: 3-hour pass, day pass or a MyRide card.

A 3-hour pass is good for unlimited trips within a 3-hour window at the same service level on another bus or train. This is replacing the one-way pass and transfer system.

A day pass allows you to take unlimited rides via bus or train all day for the price of a round-trip. Tickets from a ticket book must be inserted into the bus fare box when boarding a bus and will be exchanged by your driver for a printed 3-Hour Pass, if you request one.

A MyRide card is a preloaded fare card that can be used on bus or rail. When you use a MyRide card you get a $0.25 discount on a full price fare or a $0.15 discount on an already discounted fare.

You can also purchase a 10-Ride ticket book for $28 from any RTD sales outlet, RTD’s website or at participating grocery stores in the region.

How do I know if I need a Regional, Local or Airport fare?

Before you purchase your ticket, it is good to know what class of fare you need. If you are going to Denver International Airport via the AB, the AA or the A-Line you will need to purchase an airport fare. If you’re not sure how to tell if your trip is local or regional there are a few helpful hints. A general rule of thumb for RTD routes is that if a route is designated by numbers, it’s local and if it’s designated by letters, it’s regional. For example, the 225 is a local route that services Boulder and Lafayette while the LD connects Longmont to Denver. There are several outliers in the northwest metro region, including the Flatiron Flyer which is regional and the routes in the Boulder Transportation Network: DASH, JUMP, HOP, SKIP and BOUND, which are local.

Another way to determine if your fare should be local or regional is to look at the RTD Zone map and see how many zones you’ll travel through on your trip. As you can see on the map below, there are grey and white rings: each ring is a zone. If you are traveling from a white ring to a grey ring, the trip is local. If you are traveling from a white ring through a grey ring to a second white ring, the trip is regional.

Here is quick breakdown of the fare zones.

Local RTD Fares

  • Rail travel in one or two fare zones
  • Local/limited bus routes
  • Local service on Regional or SkyRide bus routes
  • FlexRide service

Regional

  • Rail travel in three fare zones
  • Regional bus routes
  • SkyRide bus routes

Airport

  • Rail travel to/from in the Airport fare zone (Denver International Airport)
  • SkyRide bus service to DEN

How can I pay for my RTD fare?

You can pay your fare in several different ways. The first is through RTD’s Mobile Ticketing app, which can be downloaded in both the App Store or Google Play. You’ll have to set up an account and payment method in the app. With the RTD Mobile Ticketing app, you can purchase tickets when you need them or buy them in advance and activate the ticket when you’re ready to use it. You can purchase day passes, 3-hour passes and monthly passes using the app.

Follow these 6 easy steps to purchase tickets through the app.

  • Pre-purchase tickets for future use or buy a ticket on the day of travel. (Pre-purchased tickets expire 45 days after purchase even if not activated. Activated tickets expire at 2:59 a.m. the following morning after activation).
  • Select “Buy Ticket”
  • Select ticket type
  • Enter payment info and the pass is delivered instantly
  • Activate your ticket before boarding a bus or train
  • Show to operator and fare inspector

 

You can also purchase tickets at Ticket Vending machines located at every Flatiron Flyer and rail station using cash, debit card or credit card.

You can also pay for your ticket with cash when boarding the bus. You must pay with exact change by inserting the money into the fare box as you board the bus.

How do I use my RTD pass?

Once you’ve purchased your pass, whether it’s a paper ticket, a MyRide card, an EcoPass or a ticket through the RTD Mobile Ticketing app, you’ll need to prove to the driver that you’ve paid your fare.

10-Ride Ticket book

Tickets from a ticket book must be inserted into the bus fare box when boarding a bus and will be exchanged by your driver for a printed 3-Hour Pass, if you request one. If you are riding the train, use a ticket validator to validate your fare before you board, otherwise it will not be considered a valid fare payment.

Pass

Clearly show your pass to the driver as you board, whether it is in your mobile ticket wallet or a paper ticket.

Smart Card

Tap your Smart Card on the Smart Card reader next to the driver. If you need to downgrade your fare from the route’s default fare level, let the driver know before you tap. Smart Cards include the MyRide card, EcoPasses, FlexPasses, CollegePasses, the LiVE Pass and Neighborhood EcoPasses.

How do I plan a trip using RTD?

There are multiple ways you can plan your trip using RTD. There is the RTD Trip Planner as well as schedules available on RTD-Denver.com. Using the RTD Trip Planner, you can input your starting location, your end destination as well as travel preferences.

If you need more individualized help with planning your trip, call one of RTD’s skilled Customer Service Representative who can help you plan your trip start to finish. You can reach Customer Care at 303.299.6000.

Thanks to innovative partnerships with Lyft and Uber, you can now plan a multimodal transit trip including rideshare services within the Lyft and Uber apps.

There are also other smartphone apps to help you plan your trip, such as Transit, TripGo and Google Maps.

Make RTD Part of Your Daily Commute

Navigating the Denver Metro region with RTD is easy and will give you time back in your day. Instead of driving on your own, you can let RTD do the driving while you read, listen to a new podcast or pick up a new hobby like knitting or crosswords. RTD has services to connect everybody where they need to go, whether it’s local bus routes, the Flatiron Flyer, the University of Colorado A-Line to Denver International Airport or FlexRide.

If you have any questions or need help planning your next trip on RTD, reach out to our team at Commuting Solutions at info@commutingsolutions.org. We’re more than happy to help get you going with RTD and taking advantage of all it has to offer.