Step 1: Go to your nearest rail station
You can board or exit rail at many stations across the metro area (see map). Parking is available at rail stations that 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
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 debit/credit cards are accepted at TVMs. 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 3 hours 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
If you use a ticket from a 10-Ride ticket book or a Free Ride Coupon, validate your ticket at the at the rail station. Tickets are valid for 3 hours 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 obtain a fare upgrade to a Regional/Airport Day Pass, obtain a fare upgrade 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. Signs on each train indicate the rail line and the final destination for that train.
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: Prepare to Board
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.
Riding Commuter Rail
Commuter rail comes to Denver with the new University of Colorado A Line. Commuter rail has many new, different features than light rail. Commuter rail trains carry more passengers, operate at higher speeds and make fewer stops than light rail.
The University of Colorado A Line provides fast, convenient service to DIA. Additionally, commuter rail vehicles offer different cargo space options for travelers making their way to and from Denver International Airport.
Learn more about riding commuter rail
- Boarding the train
- You have 45 seconds to board the commuter rail trains, and 20 seconds to board light rail trains. Please have your baggage and belongings ready when the train approaches the station.
- Luggage Storage
- Commuter rail vehicles feature overhead storage running the entire length of the vehicle, similar to an airplane or regional bus. Additionally, there are two designated luggage storage racks per vehicle.
- Bikes and Large Cargo
- Each vehicle has two multi-purpose storage racks. Each storage area can hold two bikes, four per vehicle. This large storage space is also ideal for large pieces of luggage like skis and snowboards.
- Level Boarding
- With commuter rail cars, every door has level boarding. This means there are no steps to maneuver when boarding or exiting the train. You can roll your bike, luggage, stroller, or wheel chair directly onto the vehicle.
Be Safe around Buses and Trains
With the opening of the University of Colorado A Line, RTD wants to remind everyone to be safe around buses and trains.
Don't touch those wires. The wires above the train are dangerous and extremley high voltage. Never try to touch them or reach them with an object.
When it's gone, it's gone. Never chase or touch a moving vehicle. Your life is more imporant than a few missed minutes.
Stay off the tracks. Stay alert when near the tracks - it might save your life. Trains travel at high speeds, come from both directions and can't stop very easily.
Learn more about being safe around buses and trains
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 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.
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.