April showers bring May flowers — and a whole lot of love to Heart of The Mile High City. Public transportation just got a Mile High kick with the April opening of Commuter Rail Service. This new Colorado light rail connects Denver International Airport to downtown.
Yes, the Train to the Plane is now open in Denver.
Last month’s opening of the University of Colorado A Line, connecting Denver International Airport (DEN) with the heart of downtown Denver, marks the realization of a decades-old vision for a connected, multimodal facility. The heavy commuter rail line, formally known as the Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) University of Colorado A Line, is a 23-mile rail system that will transport passengers from the airport to Denver Union Station in the heart of the downtown area in about 37 minutes.
The A Line includes a total of eight stations along the route, connecting millions of travelers each year with communities along the I-70 corridor and with future developments both on and off airport property. Passengers can also connect with the rest of the RTD rail network, along with local and regional buses, at the Union Station hub.
As a local Denver metro resident, I’ve taken the West Line from Golden (at the Taj Mahal with plenty of free and covered parking) to Union Station to overnight at the Crawford Hotel. I’ve ridden the West Line to take advantage of the other stops along the way including Bronco Stadium (Sports Authority Field).
“Today, we are completing a longtime vision for rail service to Denver International Airport that will make us one of the world’s best-connected airports,” airport CEO Kim Day said. “Denver is now one of fewer than 20 cities in the United States that can claim direct rail connection from downtown to the airport, and there is not an easier link from a rail station to an airport terminal in America. Our geographic location mid-country, coupled with our stunning new Westin hotel and our open-air plaza, further DEN’s reputation as one of the world’s premiere international hubs. The opening of the University of Colorado A Line only adds to our global appeal and economic prowess.”
On Friday-Saturday, April 22-23, 2016 an estimated 85,000 people rode the A line commuter trains for free, in celebration of the new rail service.
The commuter trains will operate every 15 minutes for the majority of the day and every 30 minutes during off-peak hours overnight. RTD is offering local, regional and airport fare structures along the rail line. The airport fare is $9 per day from any of the seven other A Line stations, including Denver Union Station, and allows for unlimited trips along the A Line during a single business day.
More than 4,300 parking spaces are available among all the A Line stations, including an 800-space lot owned and operated by the airport at the 61st and Peña station.
And the convenience of riding the Commuter Train to DIA continues at the Denver Airport
The Denver Airport station, which is the eastern end-of-line station for the A Line, is located at the base of the airport’s hotel and transit center, directly underneath the new Westin Denver International Airport hotel and conference center. Tickets for the A Line may be purchased at the ticket vending machines located on the train platform using cash or credit cards.
But the convenience continues for passengers:
- Step off the train and walk a short distance to an escalator, elevator or stairs that lead directly to the south entrance of the Jeppesen Terminal and the security checkpoints. No other airport in the United States can offer this incredibly short distance from the train to the plane.
- Drop luggage on level 1 of the transit center. The bag drop service is currently supported by United Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, with other carriers coming soon.
- Print boarding passes for participating airlines – which includes United, Southwest, British Airways, Lufthansa and Icelandair – at one of six self-serve boarding pass kiosks.
“Today is a proud and momentous day for us all. The new University of Colorado A line is set to become a global connector, moving people from downtown to the international marketplace via Denver International Airport,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “The easily accessible train station outside the airport’s Great Hall is going to provide such impressive convenience to travelers, and each train station along the way presents an opportunity to build and strengthen communities and economic opportunity. This game-changing rail line is now a reality, and setting the stage to transform our smart, progressive region into a truly interconnected, multimodal powerhouse on a global level.”