RTD’s 16th Street Mall shuttle is free. It’s also the district’s most cost-effective bus, simply because it carries so many dang people.

As we reported earlier this week, the Regional Transportation District is thinking a lot about how cost-effective its bus routes are. An impending budget crisis is making that conversation all the more relevant.

This map shows which lines have the highest ridership:

But here’s another that shows which lines receive the highest subsidy (covered mostly by sales tax revenue) per boarding. As you sip your weekend latte, you might notice that those two maps are roughly mirrors of each other.

But subsidies per rider don’t necessarily mean those lines are the most expensive to operate. Less popular routes that have higher subsidies also operate far less frequently. The costliest routes also tend to be very popular.

If you’re still thirsty for *MORE* data about train lines and other RTD services, check out this report.

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