Navigating the Boulder Bus System

BOLT bus
••• ( CC BY 2.0) by itdp

As an extremely pedestrian-friendly community, Boulder boasts a terrific bus system. No matter where you need to go in or out of town, chances are you can get there by bus. But even the easiest bus system can be intimidating if you’re unfamiliar with it; with the fees, transfers, strange route letter and number combinations, it can all be fairly confusing. So to get you better acquainted with the intricacies of the public transit system in Boulder, the following sections provide a simple breakdown of how it all works.

Explaining the Bus Network

There are two main bus networks that serve Boulder: the Regional Transportation District (RTD) and the Community Transit Network. The RTD is a large, independent network of bus and light rail routes that serve the entire greater Denver area, from Boulder to DIA. The Community Transit Network, while managed and operated by RTD, is a separate fleet of buses that specifically transport passengers through Boulder and connects with regional lines. Confused? Don’t worry. The only important thing to know is that together, these bus systems make a network that can get you pretty much anywhere in Boulder.

Bus Routes

For a full explanation of routes, it’s a good idea to visit RTD’s bus page. There, you can find maps and schedules for every route in the system (tip: most Boulder routes will be located in the “Local/Limited” section). Below is a quick rundown of bus routes that specifically serve the Boulder area:

  • The HOP connects the Twenty Ninth Street retail district, downtown, the Hill, and CU. 
  • The SKIP travels north and south on Broadway and connects Boulder Community Hospital, Ideal Market, the North Boulder Rec Center, downtown, CU, the Table Mesa shopping center, and Fairview High School. 
  • The JUMP travels east and west on Arapahoe, and connects Boulder High School, the Boulder Public Library, downtown, Twenty Ninth Street, Boulder Valley School District – Arapahoe, and the central Lafayette Park-N-Ride. 
  • The BOUND travels north and south on 30th Street and connects Diagonal Highway, the Twenty Ninth Street retail district, the Mapleton Ball Fields, Williams Village/Bear Creek, Scott Carpenter Park, and BaseMar Shopping Center. 
  • The DASH travels east and west along South Boulder Road and connects CU, NIST/NOAA, Table Mesa Park-N-Ride, Downtown Louisville, and Lafayette Park-N-Ride. 
  • The STAMPEDE runs between CU’s main campus, east campus, and the CU Research Park. On the main campus, it connects the Coors Events Center, Folsom Field, and the UMC. 
  • The BOLT travels on Diagonal Highway and connects Boulder and Longmont, with stops at Boulder Station, Diagonal Plaza, Front Range Community College, IBM, Longmont, Niwot Park-N-Ride, Roosevelt Park-N-Ride, and Twin Peaks Mall Park-N-Ride.
  • The Buff Bus is operated by CU Housing and Dining Services and connects students who live in Williams Village/Bear Creek to the main campus.

Special Routes

  • Late Night Transit routes provide expanded hours of operation on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights during CU’s fall and spring semesters. Busses arrive along these routes every 10 minutes from midnight to 3 a.m.
  • SkyRide is RTD’s bus route to DIA. It originates in Boulder and has several stops in town.


Fares for local routes generally run $2.25 one-way, but you can also by ticket books or monthly and yearly passes. For Skyride, the fares are $9 to $13, depending on your leaving place.