After well over two years since its scheduled launch, the Regional Transportation District’s delayed G Line between Denver and Arvada finally has an opening date.
The commuter rail line will start operating on Friday, April 26.
RTD General Manager and CEO Dave Genova made the announcement at a press conference Monday. Of course, Twitter went wild with April Fools conspiracies, but this is apparently not a joke.
“We’re not foolin’,” Genova said.
The transit agency received the final green lights from state and federal regulators late last week. Like the A and B lines, the G Line has suffered from software glitches related to safety tech known as “positive train control.”
But the Federal Railroad Administration and the Colorado Public Utilities Commission have deemed the commuter rail safe enough to operate. Software updates are on their way as well.
Genova thanked the public for their patience, adding that the delay was in the name of “progress” for the new tech.
“I know it’s been a rough road for all of our partners,” Genova said. “Certainly for us, it’s been a rough road — our regulators, our stakeholders, and especially the public who have been waiting far too long to hop on board the G Line.”
Once open, the G Line will serve eight stations, including Union Station and 41st and Fox in Denver, and Old Town Arvada and Wheat Ridge.
Arvada Mayor Marc Williams was perhaps one of the most outspoken during the long wait. Business owners and locals felt misled by the transit agency. But on Monday, Williams told Denverite he was “thrilled” despite what felt like “a slow boat to China.”
“I won’t say I have hard feelings,” Williams said. “I think it’s been a learning lesson for all of us. RTD could’ve been more transparent earlier on so we could’ve adjusted our expectations.”
Laurie Wing, a registered nurse who lives in Arvada with her family, is suspect of the announcement. She’ll believe it when she sees it, she said.
“A lot of us are in disbelief that it’s actually gonna be open because it’s been opening for a really long time,” Wing said.
She’s frustrated, to put it simply, because she wants to use public transit instead of driving when heading into the city for shows. Asked if she planned on using the G Line often, Wing said, “Totally.”
“Quiet zones” where train operators must refrain from horn use except for emergencies should be in place by the opening date, Genova said.
The G Line delay is not the only headache generated by the software glitch.
RTD and Denver Transit Partners, the private consortium RTD hired to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the commuter rail lines, are suing one another for tens of millions of dollars.
City, state and regional government officials tout private-public partnerships as a win for taxpayers, but this one is not likely to be cited as an overwhelming success. Last year a judge ordered the taxpayer-funded transit agency to pay $30 million to its contractor, Regional Rail Partners, because of delays.
The N Line, which uses the same tech as the A, B and G lines, is scheduled to open in 2020. RTD has learned from past experiences and hopes to apply that to the N Line for an on-time opening, Genova said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story contained the wrong opening date.