RTD Travel Tips

Trip Planning

Need some help figuring out how to get to your destination? You can use Google Maps, opens a new window or RTD’s web-based app, NextRide, opens a new window. Both the RTD website, opens a new window and the NextRide app offer the option to view results in English, Spanish or Chinese. If you need language options beyond English, Spanish and Chinese, Google Maps offers many more to choose from.

On Google Maps, the times listed include scheduled buses and trains as well as estimates for walking time between stops. If there is more than one way to get to your destination, the trip planner will list several options. The NextRide app will offer the same options, plus the ability to see real-time predictions of when your bus or train will arrive and save routes you use frequently.

When planning your trip, keep in mind that most routes have fewer or no stops on weekends or holidays. It is always a good idea to check schedules before you start your trip in case there have been changes to the regular schedule or there are special events or closures that may impact your travel.


Bus and Light Rail services are intended to be fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, opens a new window.  RTD offers the Access-a-Ride, opens a new window service for riders who are unable to access fixed-route buses and trains. You can also connect with RTD via social media on Instagram, opens a new window and Facebook, opens a new window.

If you need information about a route or trip and do not have internet access, you can call RTD at 303-299-6000 to be connected to a live person. 

Business Hours
Monday - Friday, 6 am-8 pm
Weekends and holidays, 9 am-6 pm

Fares and Discounts

Fares vary based on whether you qualify for discounted fares and whether your trip starts or ends at Denver International Airport. The chart on the RTD Fares page, opens a new window shows standard (full price) fairs on the left side and discounted fares on the right side. There is no listing for a discounted Airport Day Pass because the discounted day pass includes airport travel.

Discounted fares: Special Discount Cards and RTD LiVE

RTD offers Special Discount Cards and discounted fares for older adults aged 65 or older, individuals with disabilities, active duty military, Medicare recipients and youth. Youth up to age 19 with a valid middle or high school ID ride free through August 2024 as a part of a pilot program. Visit the Discount Fares, opens a new window section of the RTD website to learn more about how to qualify and apply for a Special Discount Card.

Riders approved for these discounts will be issued a Special Discount Card with their photo on it. Youth may use a valid middle or high school ID or a valid military ID in place of the Special Discount Card.


The RTD LiVE, opens a new window program offers a 50% fare discount for riders ages 20-64 whose household incomes are at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty Index. To participate in the RTD LiVE program, riders need to sign up through Colorado Peak, opens a new window, an online service for Coloradans to screen and apply for medical, food, cash and early childhood assistance programs.

If you would like assistance in applying for any of the discounted fare programs, you can contact RTD, opens a new window or make a free appointment with a librarian

Get Started

The video below is made by RTD and is a very helpful introduction to public transportation in Denver. You can also view the video in Spanish, Chinese or Vietnamese from the How to Ride, opens a new window page. RTD’s How to Ride page offers comprehensive information about the RTD system.

Purchasing bus or train tickets

Riders can purchase bus or train tickets in advance through the MyRide app, opens a new window, at an RTD sales outlet, opens a new window, through the RTD online store, opens a new window or at participating King Soopers and Safeway locations, opens a new window.

You can also pay a cash fare at the time of your ride. The ticket vending machines at the light rail stations will take debit or credit cards and will also make change for you in coins ($20 bill holding individual rider beware!). You will need exact change for the bus as drivers do not carry or make change.

If you have an RTD-issued prepaid ticket, you will need to either insert it into the bill feeder on the bus or have it stamped at the ticket validating machine at the light rail station. If you have a MyRide prepaid card, you will need to tap it on the card reader as you board the bus or train.

Payment is expected before boarding. On the bus, the driver will see you make your payment. On the Light Rail, RTD personnel will check fares periodically. If you have a pass or ticket issued at a lower price for a particular population (i.e. high school students, military, seniors or passengers with disabilities) you may be asked for additional identification showing that you qualify for the reduced fare.

View a map of Rail Fare Zones, opens a new window. Visit the RTD Fares page, opens a new window for the most up-to-date information.

Bus and Train Hubs

All light rail stations have bus stops for passengers who need to make transfers. The signs at the light rail station bus stops should indicate the direction of travel (for instance, the 83L westbound (WB) or the 83L eastbound (EB)) for each bus. These signs will be black with gray lettering, as opposed to the red bus stop signs that you have probably seen throughout the Denver metro area.

Boarding an RTD bus or train

Buses have a front display (above the windshield) that shows the route number and final stop of the route. If you are familiar with the route, this will help you make sure you are boarding the bus in the correct direction. If you are unfamiliar with the route, you can check the paper or online schedule to see what the last stop is, or you can ask the driver.

All light rail trains have signs on the front and sides to indicate which train it is and the final stop on the line. Light rail trains are labeled with letters instead of numbers. Light rail stations have printed bus and light rail schedules available for passengers to look at. Light rail train drivers are not accessible to passengers needing route information.

Anatomy of a Bus Stop Sign

An RTD bus stop sign lists the routes serving the stop (blue background with white letters), and which days of the week they stop there (black background with white letters). Each bus stop sign will also have a "MyStop" number (white background with black letters). This number will be useful if you need to call RTD or check online to see if your bus is running on time.

Bus and Train Schedules

Buses and trains run on pre-designated timetables at regular intervals (so, every 15 minutes, every half hour, every hour, etc). You can get paper schedules at bus depots (like Union Station or the Federal Center), on the bus or train and at many community centers. You can also look up schedules in the NextRide app or call RTD at 303-299-6000 for up-to-date schedule information.

A note about paper schedules: For local buses designated "Limited" (with an "L" after the route number, like the 15L that runs on Colfax Ave), all of the stops will be listed on the paper schedule, and the bus will not make additional stops in between those listed. On all other paper bus schedules, only the most frequently used stops will appear on the schedule. The bus will stop at other bus stops in between the ones listed on the schedule. For stops that are on the route but not listed on the published schedule, you will need to find the two closest stops and make an educated guess about the time for your stop.

For a more exact time, call RTD at 303-299-6000. If you have the "MyStop" number you can give that to the RTD representative or plug it into RTD's Next Ride locator online, opens a new window to be certain you are getting information for the correct stop.

How to Transfer (if you need to take more than one bus or train)

Some trips will require more than one bus or train to reach your destination. If you are using the MyRide app you can just scan your QR code at the train station or on the bus as usual- the app will keep track of whether you have an active pass (3-hour fare, day pass or monthly pass). If you do the app will recognize that and not charge you an additional fare.

If you are paying a 3-hour cash fare on the bus and need to transfer to another bus or a train, ask the driver for a transfer when you board. You will be given a small slip of paper with the date and time of expiration stamped on it. Transfers can only be used for same-day travel and must be used before the printed time of expiration. If you need to transfer to a bus or train that charges a higher fare (for example, if you have a local transfer and need to take the commuter line to the airport) you will need to pay to upgrade your transfer. You can upgrade a cash fare on the bus or at a train station.

If you are transferring from the light rail to a bus or another train, your light rail ticket or validated ticket will serve as your transfer. These tickets will also have a time of expiration listed on them.

Read more about RTD transfers, opens a new window.

Have questions about navigating to the library using public transportation? Our staff, opens a new window are happy to assist you in locating the correct routes and times or getting information about discounted fares.

Happy riding!