Transport options are a little more limited in Denver than what new arrivals may expect from a large American city. While Denver has a public transport network that is relatively efficient and continuously improving, the services it provides aren't sufficient outside the city centre. Most residents living in Denver own vehicles and find that driving is often the fastest way to get from A to B.
Public transport in Denver
Public transport in Denver is overseen by the Regional Transportation District (RTD). While there are ongoing plans to improve and expand the city’s public transport network, it is presently lacking outside Denver’s downtown area.
RTD buses are the backbone of Denver’s public transportation network. It operates around 1,000 buses on 125 routes, and serves more than 9,000 bus stops in the Denver Metropolitan Area.
Travelling by bus in Denver is comfortable and fairly convenient, unless one is travelling to or from one of the city’s more distant suburbs. New arrivals should consult the bus timetable when planning their journey as the frequency of services varies from one route to the next.
Denver's light rail system is comprised of eight lines across more than 50 stations. Light rail tickets must be purchased from ticket machines which can be found at the stations before boarding the train. The price of the ticket varies according to the distance travelled.
There are currently four commuter rail lines in Denver. The A Line provides a direct link from downtown Denver to the city's airport and can be easily accessed via light rail and bus routes, while the B Line travels from Union Station to Westminster, with further extensions underway. The G Line connects downtown Denver with the northwest suburbs of Arvada, Adams County, and Wheat Ridge, and the brand new N line connects Union Station with Commerce City, Northglenn, Thornton, and North Adams County.
These trains carry more passengers than the light rail trains, operate at higher speeds and make fewer stops. The development and extension of commuter rail lines is therefore extremely exciting as it will influence how the residents of Denver get around the city in the future.
Taxis in Denver
Taxis are readily available in Denver. They can be found at the airport and main transport hubs, such as Union Station. Taxis in Denver are metered but firms set their own rates. Prices are generally similar, as taxi companies need to remain competitive. Fares do, however, increase in the evenings.
Ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft also have a presence in Denver and are useful and easy to use.
Driving in Denver
The majority of newcomers in Denver own a car and find driving to be the most convenient way to get around the city. Having a car is especially important for those who don't live near the city centre and those who want to travel outside Denver.
The quality of roads and signage in Denver are good. While most new arrivals have no difficulty getting around, traffic can be horrendous during peak hours. Parking is fairly easy to find but fees are high within the downtown area of Denver.
Expats resident in Denver will need to convert their driver's licence from home to a local licence. The state of Colorado has reciprocal agreements with some countries, meaning that a licence from that country can be exchanged for a Colorado licence without having to retake a driver's test. Citizens of countries not party to such an agreement will need to pass a local driver's test in order to legally drive in Denver.
Cycling in Denver
The city has an excellent network of cycle trails that cover a great deal of the city. Cycling is an integral part of Denver’s culture and this is apparent in the number of bike lanes and secure cycle storage facilities that can be found in the city centre. The city has also just launched a new bike and scooter share programme with Lyft and Lime, which has been extremely successful.
Drivers in Denver are generally mindful of cyclists, so the roads tend to be far safer here than in other cities. That said, cyclists must be aware that the rules about cycling in Denver are strictly upheld. It's common for cyclists to be fined for ignoring stop signs or running a red light. Cyclists are also required to wear a helmet and have lights at the front and back of their bikes.
Reports of bike theft are quite common in Denver, so cyclists are advised to invest in a good quality lock.
►Find out about the best neighbourhoods in Areas and Suburbs in Denver.
"There is a bus and tram system. Lyft and Uber provide numerous options like rental scooters, rental bicycles, and taxi services. There is a train from the airport. The airport is very well connected and serves as a hub for United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines, so there are usually several daily flights to other cities across the US and some international destinations. Ideally, one should have a car to enjoy the various benefits across Colorado though." Find out what else Hendrik, a South African expat, has to say about Denver and his move to the Mile High City in his interview.
Are you an expat living in Denver?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Denver. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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