Expats moving to Denver will find that transport options are a little more limited than what one would expect in larger US cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
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. Therefore most residents living in Denver own vehicles and find that driving is often the fastest way to get from place to place.
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, public transport 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 which serve over 10,000 bus stops in the Denver and Boulder areas.
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. Expats 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 three commuter rail lines in Denver: the University of Colorado A Line, and the B Line. 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 planned in the future. The city's brand new G Line connects downtown Denver with the northwest suburbs of Arvada, Adams County, and Wheat Ridge.
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 usually metered but firms generally 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 have a presence in Denver and are useful when one wants to know upfront how much a trip will cost.
Driving in Denver
The majority of expats living 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 is good. Most expats have no difficulty getting around. 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.
Drivers in Denver are generally mindful of cyclists, so the roads tend to be far safer here than in other cities. However, 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. Furthermore, cyclists are 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.