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Ridership on RTD's Flatiron Flyer exceeds expectations

The Flatiron Flyer, RTD’s new bus rapid transit service, which began Jan. 3, is carrying an average of 14,428 passengers per weekday—that’s an increase of 45 percent compared to ridership along the U.S. 36 corridor in August 2015—serving Denver, Westminster, Broomfield, Louisville, Superior and Boulder.

Flatiron-Flyer-driver-Larry-Vogt
Flatiron Flyer driver Larry Vogt

The Flatiron Flyer service has six all-stop and express routes that replaced the prior bus routes. The BRT service runs every 3-15 minutes, depending on time of day and location. In addition to more frequency, the Flatiron Flyer has increased weekday trips to 92 and increased weekend trips to 42.

The Flatiron Flyer provides 18 miles of high-frequency bus service between Boulder and Denver. This bus rapid transit service operates in a combination of the newly constructed express lanes, the general purpose lanes, and starting May 1, on the shoulder of U.S. 36.

Also, U.S. 36 now has overhead signage which displays real-time highway conditions, allowing buses and other vehicles to move into alternative lanes to avoid traffic delays.

See more information about the Flatiron Flyer, schedules and services.

Bus on shoulder operations

Beginning May 1, RTD’s Flatiron Flyer buses on U.S. 36 will have another tool to provide frequent and reliable service to its passengers during times of traffic congestion with the start of bus-on-shoulder operations.

Buses can operate on the shoulder only under certain conditions:

  • The traffic speed in the general purpose lanes is less than 35 mph—any time of day
  • The bus cannot exceed the speed of general purpose traffic by more than 15 mph, with the maximum speed being 35 mph

Private vehicles must remain in the general purpose lanes, but broken down vehicles and emergency responders can still use the shoulder.

For now, you will only see buses on the shoulder of U.S. 36. However, thanks to recent legislation, it could be added to other highways, if work is done to expand the shoulders.