Written by: Harriet Baskas

It’s been a long wait, but on April 22 Denver gets what Seattle, Minneapolis, Portland, Salt Lake City and more than a dozen other U.S. cities have: rail service between the airport and downtown.

Until now, the options for getting between the city and the airport have been taxis (average fare: about $70), an often-crowded bus, car or, as of late 2014, ride-hailing services.

But the new 23-mile electric commuter rail line — called the University of Colorado A Line (thanks to a sponsorship agreement) — will run every 15 minutes and allow Denver residents and visitors to make the trip from the airport to Denver’s downtown Union Station in about 40 minutes for a fare of $9.

A new airport rail line is a great excuse for a party and Denver International Airport and Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) have two days of events planned to celebrate the opening.

The party starts with a ribbon cutting event at the airport on Friday, April 22, at 10 a.m. with many dignitaries scheduled to be in attendance, followed by free train rides Friday (starting at noon) and all day Saturday.

On Saturday, Denver International Airport and community groups will be hosting parties at the eight stations along the new rail line, with a kite festival, food, music and other entertainment scheduled to take place on the open air plaza between Denver Airport and the Westin Denver International Airport hotel, which opened adjacent to the DIA’s main Jeppesen Terminal on Nov. 25 and sits over the commuter rail station.

Like the at-the-airport Westin, the rail connection between the airport and the city is being hailed as not just a convenience for travelers, but also as a competitive, economic booster for Denver.

Studies show rail lines between airports and city centers act as “secret weapons” to attract business travelers, meetings and conventions.

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