How to Ride Rail

It's easy to get going with rail

Step 1: Go to your nearest rail station

You can board or exit rail at 46 stations (see map). Twenty five rail stations have Park-n-Ride lots. Parking fees apply at select Park-n-Ride locations; visit how to park for more information. In addition, many stations are served by convenient bus routes and Call-n-Rides that circulate throughout nearby neighborhoods.

Step 2: Pay your fare

Purchase tickets

A valid ticket is required before you board the rail. To purchase a ticket, use the ticket vending machines (TVMs) located at each station. Cash (coins and bills) and credit cards are accepted at TVMs, though some machines only accept credit cards. Every rail station has at least one TVM that takes cash. TVMs accept VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Your ticket will be automatically validated with the date and time when you purchase it from the machine. Regular one-way tickets are valid for 90 minutes from time of purchase. Also available for purchase are round-trip tickets valid for 12 hours and Day Passes.

Learn more about using ticket vending machines

Validate tickets

If you use a ticket from a 10-Ride ticket book or a Free Ride Coupon, validate your ticket at the ticket validator at the rail station. Tickets are valid for 90 minutes after the time of validation.

Passes and transfers

If you have a valid monthly pass or bus transfer, you do not have to buy a ticket. Your monthly pass is valid only for travel in the fare zones indicated on the pass. To travel in zones not indicated on a monthly pass, obtain a fare upgrade or zone receipt from a ticket vending machine.

If you are using a smart card, you must tap on at a smart card reader located along the rail platform prior to boarding the train. Be sure to verify the default service level on the reader and if necessary select your correct service level prior to tapping your card.

Step 3: Locate the correct platform

Overhead signs next to the rail tracks indicate which direction the train is going: northbound or southbound, or eastbound or westbound along the West Rail Line. Signs on each train indicate the rail line and the final destination for that train.

If you are traveling into downtown Denver on the D, F or H line, any train you board will stop at every station as far as 18th & California. However, only designated trains on the D Line continue along Welton Street to the 30th & Downing Station, so check the destination sign to see how far the train is going.

Step 4: Stand behind the yellow strip

Yellow strips located next to the tracks indicate the safe waiting distance from the trains. Stay behind the strip until the train comes to a complete stop. Once the train has stopped the doors open automatically, or you can open the door by pushing one of the lighted green buttons.

Step 5: Let passengers exit before boarding

It is easier and faster for everyone if you allow other passengers to get off the train before you board.

If you are riding rail to special events, crowds may be waiting to board at some stations. Please form orderly lines and be patient if you have to wait a few extra minutes until a train arrives with available space. We also ask that you observe all restrictions concerning items that are not permitted in entertainment and sports venues or on RTD vehicles, such as bottles, alcoholic beverages, large coolers, etc. Contact each venue for specific regulations.

Step 6: Be ready for fare inspection

Fare inspectors circulate through rail cars to check for valid fare. When asked, show your validated ticket, pass, upgrade, zone receipt, smart card or transfer. You may also be asked to show your ticket, pass or transfer at rail stations in areas identified by "Fare Paid Zone" signs.

Step 7: Exit at your stop

Your train will stop at every station along the route. To exit, the door will open automatically or push the "Open Door" button located near the stairwell at each door.

How to transfer between rail and bus

  • Your validated rail ticket serves as a bus transfer if you need to complete your trip on a bus. Just show your bus driver the validated rail ticket as you board.
  • If you are starting out on a bus and then transfer to rail, be sure to ask the bus driver for a transfer when you board the bus and keep it with you in case a rail fare inspector asks for proof of payment.
  • The easiest transfer is with a pass. All passes are valid on rail. Depending on how many rail fare zones you travel through, you may need to pay an additional fare.
  • Learn more about how to transfer.

Wheelchair accessibility

All rail vehicles are accessible to riders with mobility devices, and have seating areas available for riders with mobility devices. At light rail stations, passenger loading ramps are located on the platform. Wait at the top of the ramp for the train to stop. Operators will help you board and exit the train. Commuter rail vehicles offer level boarding at each door with no need to use a ramp to board the train.