• Length: 3 miles round trip
  • Vehicle: 60' articulated, low-floor bus
  • Stops: 14
  • Service hours: Monday - Friday, 5:54 am – 9:18 am and 2:46 pm – 6:28 pm

At a Glance

  • The Free MetroRide is part of RTD’s 2004 voter-approved plan to expand transit across the metro Denver area.
  • The high-frequency service provides additional service to downtown Denver, with limited stops between the Union Station bus concourse and Civic Center Station along 18th and 19th streets.
  • The route from Union Station heads out on 19th Street, then turns south on Broadway to 16th Avenue. The route to Union Station heads north on Lincoln to 18th Street back to Union Station. The service stops every two to three blocks.
  • The service operates in mixed traffic, but includes priority measures to ensure travel times are consistent, including fare-free boarding, separate bus stops (some with bus bulbs) and use of an HOV/bus/bike lane on 19th Street during rush hours.
  • The Free MetroRide makes 14 stops. The Stop markers have a distinct color scheme and have a white canopy making them distinguishable from other RTD stops. Branded buses have a matching color scheme.

Project Overview

  • 2004: The RTD FasTracks plan identified a need for additional transit between Union Station and Civic Center to complement the 16th Street Free MallRide.
  • 2005: The City and County of Denver completed its Downtown Multimodal Access Plan, identifying 18th and 19th streets as a new route for a downtown Denver circulator service.
  • 2010: RTD completed a long-range service plan that defined operations, route and transit priority measures, including bus bulbs.
  • 2011: RTD completed preliminary traffic and engineering analysis of bus bulbs.
  • 2012: RTD announced the circulator service will open in 2014 with peak-period service only and a shortened route with a long-range plan for all-day operations and service to the Golden Triangle when funding or ridership warranted extended service.
  • 2013: Phase One final design and construction began.
  • 2014: Phase One opened in Spring 2014.
  • 2017: The Free MetroRide began providing service out of Civic Station when it reopened on December 17.


  • 2019 Total Ridership: 706,559
  • 2018 Total Ridership: 829,337


Updated March 2020