RTD Board OKs Temporarily Cheaper Fares On The N Line

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The bridge that will carry RTD’s N Line commuter rail train, here over Brighton Boulevard near the Suncor Energy refinery.

Update 11/19: The RTD Board formally approved the lower N Line fares by a vote of 11 to 4. The original post continues below.

Some riders of RTD's forthcoming N Line would temporarily pay lower fares under a plan the agency's board advanced Tuesday.

The commuter rail line will connect Denver's Union Station to the northern suburbs of Thornton and Northglenn when it opens sometime in 2020.

RTD board member Vince Buzek's proposal would treat all of the stops along the N Line as cheaper local stops for the first six months it's open. The two northern-most stations fall in the more expensive regional fare zone.

"It's my belief, and I think a belief shared by many other transit agencies in the country, that when you simplify transit, more people ride it. When you lower fares, more people ride," Buzek said.

Local fares are $3, whereas regional fares run $5.25. Staff estimated the cheaper fares would cost RTD $180,000. The pilot program couldn't last longer than six months without a lengthy equity study required by federal law.

Some board members said if the program is a success, they'd support similar fare reductions along other rail lines.

The proposal is set to get a final vote next week.