Free MetroRide

Facts & figures

Free MetroRide at a glance

  • The Free MetroRide is part of RTD’s 2004 voter-approved plan to expand transit across the metro Denver area.
  • Phase One opened in Spring 2014, providing service between Union Station and Civic Center Station.
  • The new, high-frequency service provided additional service to downtown Denver destinations after new bus service began at Union Station.
  • The route from Union Station heads out on 19th Street, then turns south on Broadway to 16th Avenue. The route to Union Station heads north on Lincoln to 18th Street back to Union Station. The service stops every two to three blocks.
  • The service operates in mixed traffic, but includes priority measures to ensure travel times are consistent, including fare-free boarding, separate bus stops (some with bus bulbs) and use of an HOV/bus/bike lane on 19th Street during rush hours.
  • Bus stops have visible markers with a color scheme making them distinguishable from other RTD stops. Branded buses have a matching color scheme.

Project Overview

  • 2004: The RTD FasTracks plan identified a need for additional transit between Union Station and Civic Center to complement the 16th Street Free MallRide.
  • 2005: The City and County of Denver completed its Downtown Multimodal Access Plan, identifying 18th and 19th streets as a new route for a downtown Denver circulator service.
  • 2010: RTD completed a long-range service plan that defined operations, route and transit priority measures, including bus bulbs.
  • 2011: RTD completed preliminary traffic and engineering analysis of bus bulbs.
  • 2012: RTD announced the circulator service will open in 2014 with peak-period service only and a shortened route with a long-range plan for all-day operations and service to the Golden Triangle when funding or ridership warranted extended service.
  • 2013: Phase One final design and construction began.
  • 2014: Phase One opened in Spring 2014.

Free MetroRide Fast Facts

  • Length: 3 miles round trip
  • Vehicle: 60' articulated, low-floor bus
  • Stops: 14
  • Service Frequency: every 6 - 9 minutes during rush hours
  • Service hours: Monday - Friday, 6 - 9 a.m. and 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Free MetroRide map

map of Free MetroRide along 18th and 19th street

Updated January 2016