by John Kiljan
Dear CLRC members and friends,
The fastest, most convenient shuttle service from Arvada to DIA will be coming to an end in only a few months’ time. Arvada’s A-Line airport shuttle, operated by the Ride Provide non-profit, will end its popular airport service once the new Gold Line commuter-rail service through Arvada starts operating this fall.
The 40-minute Olde Town to DIA service the A-Line gave Arvada will be taken over by the Gold Line and the A-Train to DIA leaving from Union Station in the heart of Denver. That connection, with average waits for trains, could take a little over an hour to reach the airport check-in counters from Arvada. But there will be other advantages that go with the additional 20-minute RTD connection to DIA that could make the longer trip time worth it for Arvada’s air travellers.
It had been hoped that the A-Line wouldn’t go away and would be able to continue as a for-profit service operating from another nearby Olde Town location. But that wasn’t to be. RTD has been subsidizing about a quarter of the fare for the Ride Provide service since RTD cancelled its original AA Arvada public bus service to DIA years ago. That subsidy, along with access to the Olde Town park-and-ride facility goes away when the Gold Line opens up later this year.
And the transportation market itself is changing. Semi-private door-to-door services such as Uber are picking up some of the DIA traffic, and the time advantage to DIA may evaporate in the next decade or so as metro-area traffic volumes continue to increase. And the RTD service will run more frequently and further into the night. That will be mean fewer late-night taxi rides for travellers on delayed flights that get in after 9:00 pm. RTD’s commuter rail service is also expected to be largely immune to weather delays caused by Denver’s sometimes fierce winter storms.
Moreover, RTD has set the fare for a commuter-rail ride from Arvada to DIA (with the change at Denver’s Union State) at a very reasonable $9.00. That’s less than the A-Line shuttle, and the fare is half-price for seniors. All of that makes it very difficult to attract the private financing that would be needed to keep the A-Line shuttle running.
So what’s next? The best summary I’ve seen is in an announcement and FAQ recently put out by Ride Provide’s director, former Arvada City Council member Shelley Cook. It can be found on the A-Line web site at
and they are copied here.
What happens to the A-Line Shuttle after the Gold Line starts operating this Fall?
|By now many of our riders have heard the news that the A-Line Shuttle will cease operation once the Gold Line train (RTD’s G Line) is up and running. This is an exciting time — the train we’ve all looked forward to is almost here — but it also means that our funding is about to end.
RTD has very generously funded the A-Line shuttle service for more than a dozen years. Even so, we have always understood that the agency’s subsidy could continue no later than when there is train service to Arvada and Wheat Ridge.
The start date of the G Line has not been announced, but it likely will be later in the fall. (Certainly not earlier than October. We’ll let you know as soon as we know.) Until then we’ll be operating on our normal schedule out of the Olde Town Arvada park-n-Ride.
Please watch for updates about the transition in the months to come, and, especially important, details about alternatives for you — including the great one of the train itself.
In the meantime, do you have questions? Want to know more? Please download the FAQ sheet (373K, .pdf file). Or reply to this email, or give us a call at our main number, 303-420-2589. We’ll be glad as always to hear from you. And, as always, thank you.
A-Line Shuttle FAQs – May, 2016
- Why stopping? The A-Line Shuttle has been generously funded by RTD every year since 2003 (with considerable additional help in the beginning from the City of Arvada and Arvada agencies). That’s because RTD had discontinued its own airport service to this part of town. Our understanding from the outset was that funding would be sustained no later than when RTD service was restored via the Gold Line.
- When exactly will you stop? Probably the same day the Gold Line starts. RTD has not yet announced a date, but it likely will be later in the fall. (Certainly no earlier than October.) Once we know for sure, we’ll let you know right away. In the meantime we’ll be operating our normal schedule both in Arvada and at DIA.
- Is there any way that you could continue without the funding? I/we would be willing to pay more for non-stop service. We have thoroughly explored this question and must conclude in the negative. In addition to the loss of subsidy, our costs go way up, including airport access fees that will soar ten or more times their current level. More, we know the train service will be terrific: it will operate much more frequently and for a greater part of the day, charge only $9.00 all the way to the airport ($4.50 for seniors), and the transfer at Union Station will be quick and easy, all level and cross-platform. It won’t take that much longer to get to the airport – around an hour all told – and the travel time would be consistent throughout the day and in all kinds of weather. We’d be bound to lose ridership — and even at significantly increased fares, our non-profit would likely not be able cover the high fixed costs of operating a scheduled service.
- What will be my options for airport transit service? Transportation as an industry is undergoing a rapid shift both globally and here in the metro area, spurred in part by the introduction of a full-fledged rail system. Monitoring the trends in mobility, we think passengers will have multiple alternatives for getting to DIA, including both shared and dedicated ride services. We’ll be sending information about the train and other options over the next few months.
- What about passes I purchased? If I can’t use them, can I get a refund? We have set up a sinking fund to reimburse purchasers of unused ten pack tickets and even round trip tickets, if needed. Just give us a call at 303-420-2589 and we can arrange a refund.
AFRAID OF MAKING A TRAIN CHANGE AT UNION STATION?
You are not alone. I am too. Union Station is now much bigger, more modern, more bustling and a more scary place than it used to be. But like any new experience, it should be easier to navigate through the station once you’ve tried it. The A-Line people are aware of that, and they are trying to make changing trains in the heart of Denver easier to learn about. Next month – even before the Gold Line opens up in Arvada – is likely to be your first opportunity to try out the change before you actually have to catch a flight. Here’s a quote from the A-Line’s director:
“Here’s one thought: we’ll be hosting ‘dry runs’ once the Westy station is open in July. Theirs will be the most similar to the trek from our neck of the woods. We’ll organize free trips using a van to get people from our park-n-ride to the Westy station. RTD will supply free passes so we can ride downtown, see what the transfer is like, and then go to DIA if folks wish.”
THANKFUL FOR 13 YEARS OF SERVICE TO THE CITY OF ARVADA?
The A-Line has been a labor of love from its very beginnings. It took a lot of people working together to set it up, and it nearly didn’t happen at all. If, like me, you are grateful to have benefitted from a service that has literally connected Arvada to the rest of the world for over a decade, this would be a good time to pick up the phone and briefly express those thoughts to Ride Provide’s director, Shelley Cook, at 303-420-2589, and let her know what the service has meant to you and to the City of Arvada.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
As this article points out, things must change evenually. The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community (in its present form, at least) is also going away. Look for another post later this month explaining what will be happening to our neighborhood association that so many of us have been a part of for the last six years. In the meantime, you can write to us, call us or email us at
c/o John Kiljan, Secretary
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004
June 4, 2016