Colorado will kick off largest zero-fare transit program in country

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DENVER – On Monday, Colorado kicks off the largest zero-fare transit program in the country with 30 agencies poised to waive fares all day, every day of August. Combined, the agencies participating have an average monthly ridership of over 5.8 million trips. 

Colorado was already a leading zero-fare state where people could ride transit for free year round in 16 communities including Summit County, Estes Park, Steamboat Springs, Telluride, and Clear Creek County. In Denver, the 16th Street Mall Ride has been zero fare for decades. 

During the month of August, transit agencies like Bent County Golden Age Transportation, Bent County Transit, City of La Junta, Durango Transit, Mountain Express Transit, Mountain Metropolitan Transit, Durango Transit, Greeley Evans Transit (GET), Prairie Express, Prowers Area Transit, Pueblo Transit, Regional Transportation District (RTD), San Miguel Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), South Central Council of Governments, and Southern Colorado Community Action Agency, Inc. are poised to waive fares for their entire systems. 

The one-month pilot program will be managed by the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies (CASTA) in partnership with the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) with funding dedicated by the state legislature through SB22-180.

CASTA and CEO also launched a new website where transit riders around the state can sign up and track their trips to see how much their choice to ride transit reduces CO2 emissions and saves them money on gas if they had driven.

“In August, Colorado will have the largest zero-fare program in the country, elevating transit in an unprecedented way as a travel option for millions of people,” said Danny Katz, executive director of CoPIRG. “More people riding transit is a key strategy for our state to meet air pollution, safety and affordability goals. I applaud all the transit agencies across the state that answered the call from the Governor and the legislature in a tight timeline to drop fares for a month and join the 14 agencies that have had no fares for years.”

”Transit plays such an important role in our state from connecting people to employment, education and services to helping reduce air pollution by providing people with cleaner travel options,” said Ann Rajewski, executive director of CASTA. “During August, Colorado transit agencies are excited to roll out the largest zero fare program in the country, saving our current riders money and encouraging new riders to discover how transit connects them to their community.”    

Whether you jump on your local bus or hop on a train, taking a free ride on public transit this August is not only a great way to save money, but it can also help Coloradans breathe easier while ensuring a healthier climate and less congested roads,” said Colorado Energy Office Deputy Director Dominique Gómez. “Day-to-day driving accounts for more than 60% of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions in our state, so Polis administration initiatives like this – and others, such as funding for electric school buses and rebates for electric bicycles – are vital for ensuring we maintain our Colorado way of life.” 

For a map of the agencies without fares during the month of August, click here. Here are some highlights across the state:

  • Prowers Area Transit will be expanding their services with the Zero Fare program, implementing a fixed route connecting the communities of Holly, Granada, Hartman, Bristol, and Wiley in Prowers County to resources in Lamar. The route will originate in Granada and run 5 days a week.
  • Pueblo Transit will be offering zero-fare transportation on all existing routes throughout the month of August. With the Zero Fare program, they will also pilot a new route, reaching from the city’s largest food distribution site, Care and Share, to the Transit Center. In addition, they will be providing courtesy shuttles to multiple events during the month of August.
  • Greeley Evans Transit (GET) will offer zero-fare services for the full month of August including their fixed-route services, ADA complementary paratransit service and their general public demand response service (“Call-N-Ride”). 

August also coincides with half price fares on Bustang, Outrider and Pegasus, statewide transit operated by the Colorado Department of Transportation. For example, using zero-fare transit in Denver with CDOT’s services allows someone to get anywhere in the RTD region to Grand Junction for $21.5, Vail for $8.50, Fort Collins for $5, Colorado Springs for $6, Buena Vista for $12 and Durango for $43. 

“Implementing a half-price fare is a great opportunity for people to evaluate all our transit services while we’re in our peak traffic season, especially in the high country,” said CDOT Division of Transit and Rail Director Amber Blake. “In addition, our system provides another option for commuting or for recreation, especially while the price of gas remains prohibitively high. It also can help make your trip safer and more enjoyable.”