Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My Trip to Denver

Well, I know that Google Peak Oil and maybe some other people are ready to hear about my trip over to Denver. I said I was trying to do the trip all transit so how did I do? Well actually pretty good except my wife did give me a ride over to the TRAX station to avoid a 20-minute walk to the bus stop in the rain, and then picked me up at the train station since it gets in at 11:30pm.

Well my wife took me over to the Murray Central TRAX station where I rode TRAX to 3900 South and caught the 56 bus over to the airport. It went well, as I only had a duffel bag, garment bag with my suit, and my back pack with laptop in it.

I am glad I only had a short ride on TRAX since it was full. There was only one sit available and some ugly woman sat on the aisle side of the seat and refused to let anyone sit down. Now if I was traveling farther I might have been tempted to tell her off but who cares.

Next I took a Southwest Cattle Car over to Denver running 40-minutes late due to weather. Would this make you mad, you get a "A" boarding pass, wait three and a half hours for your plane (including delay) then watch as a couple in the "B" line has a friend red cap who goes over to the podium and gets them a pre-boarding pass. Neither of the people needed help plus there was already 5 wheelchairs, a blind person with dog, and several couples with little children boarding. Every time I fly into Denver, I encounter some of the worse turbulance of my life and this trip was no exception. At least this time the girl next to me did not loose her breakfast all over the place.

Originally I had 55-minutes from the time my plane landed to the next RTD Airport Express would leave heading my direction but because I had only 15-minutes it was a mad dash. Add the fact that the day passes I ordered never showed up so I had to get some at the airport plus get my duffel bag from baggage claim. Suprisingly I actually made it to the bus at the nick of time. Good thing I read headsigns since there was two AT route buses leaving at this time. One goes to a wrong area but I watched and caught the right one.

The AT bus took me to the Nine Mile Light Rail Station where I got a G line train to the Dry Creek Station where a bus took me to my motel. This bus is what is called a Dial A Ride which I will talk about in another post either tomorrow or a couple of days. Oh I bought two more Day Passes from the airport RTD counter but the driver on the AT bus punched the wrong day so I was screwed for today!

I then road the E line to the D line out to the end of the line at 30th and Downing. I would not want to be in this section of town after dark as it had lots of boarded up buildings. Then I took the D line back the Convention Center and walked to my meeting. After the meeting I walked by to the Convention Center Station and caught an F line train back to Arapahoe Station where I walked the mile and a half to my motel since bus service ends at 8:00PM in this area and it was now 9. I was actually trying to find a convinience store but did not find one on my walk back.

The next day I took RTD route 77 to the Dry Creek Station and proceed to ride the entire RTD light rail system. The line I was along follows the I-25 freeway and opened back in November while the other line goes along the main line of the BNSF down to the infamous town of Littleton. I also went to Union Station, picked up 3 sets of train tickets, then rode an historical trolley run by an historical society. It turns out this trolley will only be operating its long route for a couple of more weeks because the majority of the route is becoming RTD's new westside Light Rail Line. However the historical trolley will still run along the Platte River and its a nice little ride. I then returned to Arapahoe Station, caught the 77 again and rode it to an area where I saw some restaurants, ate, bought a couple of things for the night and headed back to the motel on the 77.

The Next day I walked about a mile back to the Dry Creek Station and caught an E line train back to Union Station and rode Amtrak's California Zephyr. The scenery along this line is outstanding, however we had a lounge car that was badly in need of refurbishment. In addition the head server in the dining car named Rose was a monster who made children cry and treated adults like they where children. Beyond her the rest of the crew was friendly and after 14 hours of outstanding scenery we arrived back in Salt Lake City 45-minutes early.

OK, except for the rides from my wife, the entire trip was via transit. In September my wife will be going with me as I have another meeting in Denver. This time we have a motel that is right at the light rail station.

Overall, RTD does somethings better than UTA, some things worse, and others just as bad like UTA. Like the Dial Ride, I will discuss these things over the next couple of days depending on what happens news wise.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

I'm a commercial real estate broker in Denver, I focus specifically on transit oriented districts including the rail lines and major bus routes. Glad to hear you were able to do your entire trip on transit. Once we get the rail out the airport, it will be much easier to get around.

The Platte River Trolley is really an amazing piece of history for this area, they are pushing to get a museum and maybe even cross platform access from the rail at the the Decatur station just south of Mile High Stadium. I'm really pushing and hoping that will happen, it will make that stop very unique.

I'm curious to hear what your issues were with the Call-n-Ride service. As the additional rail lines come online, call-n-ride will be a large part of getting people to the stations.