Denver Union Station Bus Concourse and Free MetroRide Celebrates Year of Service

May 12, 2015

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) celebrates one year of service May 11 for opening of the new Denver Union Station Bus Concourse and the Free MetroRide. Buses began running service to the bus concourse on May 11, 2014, when Market Street Station permanently closed after 30 years. 

The 22-gate, underground bus concourse is part of the Union Station Transit Center, which also includes light rail, Amtrak and commuter rail to the airport, Arvada/Wheat Ridge and south Westminster (opening in 2016) and Thornton/Northglenn (opening in 2018). 

“Denver and the region are forever changed since the opening of this multimodal transportation hub, providing travelers, commuters, students and local residents easy connections between different services.” said Chuck Sisk, RTD Board chair. “The station and the surrounding development have revitalized downtown are evidence of the continued revitalization not only downtown Denver, but serving as the center for the entire metropolitan region of RTD." 

Since opening, Union Station has averaged around 17,400 riders daily, with that number expected to increase significantly with next year’s opening of commuter rail in 2016. By 2030, it is projected that Denver Union Station will serve 200,000 passenger trips a day. 

The bus concourse celebrated a major achievement in receiving the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The facility is 30 percent more energy-efficient than a comparable building. It is also one of only nine transit buildings or facilities in the nation with a LEED designation and is the second LEED Gold transit facility in Colorado. 

With the rise of passengers coming into Union Station and traveling to destinations in downtown Denver, the Free MetroRide began service on May 12, 2014 as a complementary service to the 16th Street Free MallRide during weekday rush hour to give riders another transportation option. The Free MetroRide runs between Union Station and Civic Center along 18th and 19th Streets. 

Since opening in May, the Free MetroRide has already proven to be a success. The service has been highly utilized, with an average of 2,500 passengers a day. To meet demand, RTD has added extra buses during service times. 

The Free MetroRide was also honored with the “2014 Innovative Transportation Solution of the Year” award by the Women’s Transportation Seminar Colorado for innovation and embracing women in meaningful leadership roles. 

“The Denver Union Station and Free MetroRide play key roles in the city’s future as a significant and prominent gateway to downtown Denver and the region,” said Dave Genova, interim general manager and CEO of RTD. “With the additions of these services, we are connecting people and communities through transportation like never before.”