Welcome to Inside RTD FasTracks—your monthly update about FasTracks news, progress and people
The 'Train to the Plane' arrives April 22
During its recent testing phase, the University of Colorado A Line commuter rail trains pull into the new end-of-line station at Denver International Airport. The new downtown-to-airport service opens April 22. Photo credit: Denver International Airport.
One of the most anticipated rail line openings in Denver history happens April 22.
The University of Colorado A Line is 23 miles of commuter rail that will make local, domestic and international travel easier than ever. The new line will offer easy, affordable and reliable connections between downtown Denver, Denver International Airport, and the communities along I-70.
From Union Station to DIA, the ride will take 37 minutes with stops at six stations. Trains will depart every 15 minutes for the majority of the day. Travelers driving to stations along the line will find 4,329 parking spaces at six of the stations. And, it’s only $9 from anywhere in the metro Denver region. Discount fares are available for seniors 65+, students ages 6-19, Medicare recipients and individuals with disabilities.
Stations and parking spaces located along the University of Colorado A Line are:
• Union Station (17th & Wynkoop – downtown Denver). Train is at Platform 1
• 38th & Blake St. – 200 parking spaces
• 40th & Colorado Bvld. – 200 parking spaces
• Central Park (in the community of Stapleton) – 1,500 parking spaces
• Peoria (near I-70) – 550 parking spaces
• 40th Avenue & Airport Blvd•Gateway Park – 1,079 parking spaces
• 61st & Pena Blvd. – 800 private parking spaces with fees not like RTD Park-n-Rides
• Denver International Airport – parking at multiple lots, pricing determined by DIA
The University of Colorado A Line is part of the RTD FasTracks Eagle P3 project, the nation’s first full public-private partnership for transit. Local RTD taxes combined with a $1.03 billion federal grant and $450 million from Denver Transit Partners, the 34-year concessionaire that will build, operate and maintain the trains, make up the $2.3 billion project.
Come celebrate the grand opening April 22 and April 23
April 22 — 10 a.m. – noon opening ceremony at Denver International Airport
Free rides on the University of Colorado A Line noon – 9 p.m.You’re invited to the grand-opening ceremony! Join Gov. John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and other special guests to commemorate the opening of the University of Colorado A Line. You can also watch the ceremony through a live feed from Denver Union Station.
Trains begin running immediately after the ceremony from all stations along the University of Colorado A Line until 9 p.m. — free! Note: Parking is not free at the airport. Airport parking fees apply.
April 23 – FREE RIDES and STATION PARTIES
Ride the train to the plane—or any rail line in the RTD system free—5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Access the University of Colorado A Line from any of the eight stations, including Union Station and the Airport Station—or ride down to Denver Union Station on any of the light rail lines and transfer to the train to the airport.
Station Parties — 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Station parties are local, community-hosted parties at all stations along the University of Colorado A Line. Come and enjoy the food, fun and entertainment. Check out all the great activities at all the stations. Please note, the party at 38th & Blake runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information about the University of Colorado A Line and grand-opening ceremonies.
Denver joins elite worldwide group with trains to the airport
RTD and its innovative FasTracks program, a multi-billion dollar voter-approved transit expansion plan, has demonstrated the need and demand for a train to the airport. This new train is considered a “game changer” for the Denver metro region and the airport. Moreover, this new train will play a major role in boosting the region’s global presence. Read the whole story here.
Related Story...You must Take the ‘A’ Train – Hear it and see it here
While residents in the region and international travelers will soon be taking the University of Colorado A Line to Denver International Airport, there’s another famous ‘A’ train worth noting.
Take the ‘A’ Train is a jazz standard made famous by Duke Ellington and written by Billy Strayhorn in 1939. The composition became Ellington’s signature tune. It was first recorded Jan. 15, 1941, and the title refers to the then-new A subway service through New York City, which at that time, ran from eastern Brooklyn up into Harlem and northern Manhattan.
Ellington offered Strayhorn a job and gave him money to travel from Pittsburgh to New York City. He wrote directions for him on how to get to his house by subway that began, “Take the A Train.” The rest is history.
And, here’s a video of Ellington and his band playing the tune from the film, “Reveille.”
RTD hosts rail safety day for disabled community, April 19
In anticipation of the opening of the University of Colorado A Line from Union Station to Denver International Airport, RTD is hosting a commuter rail safety day for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) community, April 19 from noon to 3:30 p.m.
The purpose of the event is to familiarize the ADA community about all the new commuter rail features at stations, pedestrian crossings, and how to board and deboard from the trains.
Nationally acclaimed artists install unique artworks along University of Colorado A Line
Local artist Sean O’Meallie prepares “Balloon Man Running” which was installed April 6 at the Central Park Station. The art can be seen on the southwest corner of Unita Street and Smith Road.
RTD’s art collection is growing. The agency’s Art-n-Transit program is adding six new pieces at stations along the new University of Colorado A Line. Art will be installed at every station, beginning with the 38th & Blake Station and on to 40th & Airport Blvd•Gateway Park Station.
Sean O’Meallie, the artist of “Balloon Man Running,” is a native of New Orleans, La., taught studio art at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, was a toy inventor in New York City, and has had his sculptures exhibited and toured in the U.S. and Europe.
Inviting our social fans to enjoy the ride and travel the world
Keep an eye out for some fun, interactive and engaging social media driven contests around the Grand Opening of the University of Colorado A Line. You’ll see the buzz happening on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Check out these great prizes...
Stay or Go Vacation Prize Package
In partnership with radio stations 99.5 The Mountain and Alice 105.9, RTD is offering an amazing trip-giveaway for two winners!
You can choose between a flyaway trip to Chicago to see Beyoncé in concert or take a luxury Denver stay-cation with tickets to see Sting and Peter Gabriel. First-place winner can choose between the Chicago vacation or the Denver stay-cation. Second place gets the remaining prize. RTD employees and family members are not eligible to win but tell your friends to enter. Maybe they’ll take you with them if they win. See prize packages details here.
#traintotheplane Selfie Spot — Snap. Post. Win!Travel the world on the University of Colorado A Line!
At each of the station parties on Saturday, April 23, look for the unique travel destination Selfie Spot next to the RTD tent. Post your selfie pic there with the hashtag #traintotheplane.
Participants can “visit” unique destinations like China, Mexico, London and Paris. Photos tagged with #traintotheplane will appear at rtd-denver.com/gallery and on Monday, April 25, RTD will randomly choose winners for some great prizes like gift cards and theater season tickets. Participants can also enter our Stay or Go Vacation contest. RTD employees can snap and post selfies but are not eligible to win prizes. See contest details here. Where will the University of Colorado A Line take you?
Ridership up 45% in first three months
RTD’s BRT service, the Flatiron Flyer, exceeds expectations
The Flatiron Flyer, RTD’s new bus rapid transit service, which began Jan. 3, is carrying an average of 14,428 passengers per weekday—that’s an increase of 45 percent compared to ridership along the U.S. 36 corridor in August 2015—serving Denver, Westminster, Broomfield, Louisville, Superior and Boulder.
The Flatiron Flyer service has six all-stop and express routes that replaced the prior bus routes. The BRT service runs every 3-15 minutes, depending on time of day and location. In addition to more frequency, the Flatiron Flyer has increased weekday trips to 92 and increased weekend trips to 42.
The Flatiron Flyer provides 18 miles of high-frequency bus service between Boulder and Denver. This bus rapid transit service operates in a combination of the newly constructed express lanes, the general purpose lanes, and starting May 1, on the shoulder of U.S. 36.
Also, U.S. 36 now has overhead signage which displays real-time highway conditions, allowing buses and other vehicles to move into alternative lanes to avoid traffic delays.
For more information about the Flatiron Flyer, schedules and services.
Bus on shoulder operations on U.S. 36 begin May 1
Beginning May 1, RTD’s Flatiron Flyer buses on U.S. 36 will have another tool to provide frequent and reliable service to its passengers during times of traffic congestion with the start of bus-on-shoulder operations.
Buses can operate on the shoulder only under certain conditions:
• The traffic speed in the general purpose lanes is less than 35 mph—any time of day.
• The bus cannot exceed the speed of general purpose traffic by more than 15 mph, with the maximum speed being 35 mph.
Private vehicles must remain in the general purpose lanes, but broken down vehicles and emergency responders can still use the shoulder.
For now, you will only see buses on the shoulder of U.S. 36. However, thanks to recent legislation, it could be added to other highways, if work is done to expand the shoulders.
Transit Lines Opening in 2016
Stay tuned for more information on the exciting opening of these transit lines.
RTD Board Meetings
The RTD Board holds regular meetings most Tuesdays. Learn more ...
Calendar of Events
For a complete listing of upcoming events and activities, click here .
To schedule a FasTracks presentation for your group or organization, contact the FasTracks Public Information Team today at 303-299-6990.