New Transit Service from Olde Town to DIA via Union Station


by John Kiljan
[updated 19 December 2016]

Dear neighbors and friends of the CLRC,

For 13 years Ride Provide ran an inexpensive direct-to-the-airport shuttle service from Olde Town.  That service was called the A-Line shuttle, and it turned out to be a very popular and convenient way to reliably get to the Denver International Airport (DIA) from the heart of Arvada.

The A-Line shuttle was discontinued on October 31st in anticipation of the opening of the Gold Line commuter rail service to Denver Union Station (DUS).  However, because of gate-control software problems, the opening of the Gold Line (also known as the G Line) has been delayed for months until “sometime in 2017”, leaving a substantial “gap” in transit service from Olde Town to DIA.

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that RTD has started a new replacement bus service to fill that gap.  The new service started yesterday (December 18th).  It will run under the designations of 55L and 55S, and it will run at least hourly.  Its schedule is attached here.  The service won’t run all the way to DIA, but it will run non-stop to DUS where an easy connection can be made that will take passengers all the way to the airport.

This is a big deal.  And it’s not just good for people going to the airport.  Olde Town has never before had a transit connection to downtown Denver that was a direct all-day service.  Even the Gold Line (whenever it is finally up and running) will have several stops along its way to DUS.  For those used to taking the number 52 RTD bus as it threads its way through various metro neighborhoods, they will find getting to downtown Denver much easier and faster.  And unlike some other RTD parking lots that charge a fee for parking more than 24 hours, the Olde Town parking lot will be free.

The initial budget for the new bus service is $500,000.  And RTD has said it may cancel the service if there are not enough riders.  How many will actually use it is unknown.  Nor is it known how many will use it just to get to DUS to spend some time in downtown Denver.   But RTD expects the Gold Line itself (when it begins running) will attract an average of 2400 boardings a day.  So there is a good chance the new service will capture a good part of that ridership and remain in service until the Gold Line itself starts up.

glineprojections

When will the Gold Line actually start running?  No one knows for sure, but one indication will be when testing resumes again.  Tests must be run for 45 days.  After that there seems to be an approval action needed by the State’s Public Utilities Commission and by the Federal Railroad Administration.  So it seems like it will be at least a couple of months after we start hearing the frequent train horns sounding all along the line where it runs through Arvada’s at-grade crossings.

Readers should be able to get a printable view of the new schedule by clicking on this link.  [But note that there have been some gate changes at Denver Union Station as described below.]

http://us13.campaign-archive2.com/?u=49917934f712011cb54678e30&id=becb76ef84

For other options on getting to DIA from Arvada.  Have a look at this earlier CLRC article at this link.

https://ralstoncommunity.org/2016/10/20/getting-to-the-airport-during-the-gap/

So here is the Ride Provide announcement and RTD’s schedule . . .

New Non-Stop ‘Bus Bridge’ from Olde Town!
Here’s really big news: RTD has announced a new transitional service from the Olde Town Arvada park-n-ride operating daily beginning December 18, 2016. The new route is meant to bridge the gap between the A-Line shuttle, which stopped operating on November 1, and the start of the G-Line train in 2017. In addition to facilitating airport access, it’s a terrific way to get downtown for cultural and other events. Some features of this brand new service:

  • Hourly, non-stop service to and from Union Station, dropping you underneath the train platform, an easy and comfortable walk away.
  • The CU A-Line train takes you the rest of the way to DIA. Trains depart every fifteen minutes through most of the day, every day.
  • Very affordable rates: $2.60 to downtown or $9.00 all the way to DIA.
  • Seniors and kids go for half-price ($1.30 to downtown or $4.50 to DIA).
  • Free parking at the Olde Town Arvada park-n-ride — with a good number of spaces currently available.
  • For most trips, you’ll ride in a big, plush motorcoach with many amenities and driver assistance with luggage.
  • Preliminary: Ride Provide is working on a program for volunteers who can guide you and assist with your transfer downtown.
  • For most trips, you’ll ride in a big, plush motorcoach with many amenities and driver assistance with luggage.
  • Preliminary: Ride Provide is working on a program for volunteers who can guide you and assist with your transfer downtown.

Week Day Schedules and Pick-Up Locations
In a nutshell, the 55L departs the Olde Town p-n-r, Gate B, every fifteen minutes (approximately) from 6:09 a.m. until 8:01 a.m. After that, the bus (then called the 55S) departs the Olde Town p-n-r, Gate A [shown in red], hourly at :13 minutes after the hour, from 9:13 a.m. through 9:13 p.m. The trip is non-stop to Union Station and drops you one level below the train platform.

On the return from Union Station, the departure time is always :46 minutes after the hour, from 8:46 a.m. through 9:46 p.m.

55sschedulerevised2[Shelley Cook, the General Manager of Ride Provide, made these comments about gate changes in a Nextdoor.com posting:  Yes, the ECO pass applies. Note also that RTD has changed the gate at Union Station. Now ALL 55S pick-ups are at Gate 5 — which is better because it’s closer to the train! Also for those without passes — if you are planning to ride the 55L or 55S before the end of year, please let me know if you’d like a free ticket. I have a good number left over from our train dry runs, but they must be used by end of year. And I’d really like to see people try the 55. – Shelley from Ride Provide (and an Olde Town neighbor!)”  Ride Provide’s business number is 303-420-2589]

Weekend Schedules and Pick-Up Locations
The weekend schedule is an easy one: the 55S departs the Olde Town Park-n-Ride, Gate A, every hour at :13 minutes after the hour starting at 6:13 a.m. and continuing through 6:13 p.m. On the return, the 55S departs Union Station from Gate 5 [updated] every hour at :46 after the hour starting at 5:46 a.m. and continuing through 6:46 p.m.

Service is provided on all holidays, including Christmas and New Year’s, according to the Weekend Schedule.

NOTE: Two different vehicles will be used for this service. The 55S is an over-the-road coach with separate luggage storage and the driver will assist with your bags. The 55L is a regular RTD bus and it operates in the early morning hours on weekdays only. To board the 55L with your luggage, merely ask the driver to lower the lift to allow you to roll your luggage aboard. You can stow it on the floor in the front of the vehicle — but please be considerate of others and careful to preserve room for the aisle.

[Note also, that December 26th and January 2nd are not RTD holidays.  The regular weekday schedule will be followed those two days.  The locations of Gates A & B are a little hard to see in the original post.  Here’s a more detailed view of the Olde Town Park & Ride showing the two gates.  Gate A is the one marked in red.  North is on the right side of the drawing in this view and the Wadsworth Bypass runs along the bottom of the drawing and Vance Street is on the top.]

Olde Town Park & Ride (December 2016)

Olde Town Park & Ride (Fall 2016)

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One Response to New Transit Service from Olde Town to DIA via Union Station

  1. Charles says:

    Very helpful and timely information, thank you! Moving close to the Gline was not the only reason i bought a house here but it was certainly a factor. I work in south Denver and have reason to be on I70 & I25 regularly and i was hoping to cut down on my car commutes so the G-line delay has been really frustrating.

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