City of Northglenn, RTD working to improve reliability of N Line

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Posted at 5:09 PM, Apr 05, 2022

NORTHGLENN, Colo. — Getting between Northglenn and downtown Denver is made easy thanks to RTD's N Line. But lately, some residents say it's become a bit unreliable.

"In the last month, I've experienced seven different times when I've gotten messages that the RTD service from Union Station or from here in Northglenn has been canceled due to a mandatory second operator not available," John Fisher, a Northglenn resident, said Tuesday.

Now retired, he sometimes works as an usher at Coors Field or Ball Arena. It's not a bad gig until you can't get to it or back home. A canceled trip, he says, is costly.

"[An] Uber is about $75 from Union Station to here," Fisher said.

Julie Duran Mullica, Northglenn's Ward 3 Council Member, says she's been communicating the problem to RTD as part of the North Area Transportation Alliance.

"It's horrible when you get stuck in Denver, right, and then, as we saw from that resident, you know, you have to pay the $80 Uber ride to get back up north," she said.

The federally-required second crew member the N Line can't run without is staffed by a third-party contractor, Mullica says, just like the A Line, which is suffering the same problem.

"One of the things that I've been told RTD has been working on is that crew member right now is a third-party contract, and so making that an RTD position allows greater oversight for that position, which I think would be beneficial in trying to address some of these... just... unreliability issues that we continue to have," Mullica said.

Unlike the A Line to and from the airport, the N Line does not require its second crew member to be armed. RTD has been able to fill in absences with its own employees, the agency said.

Of the 296 trips that could've been canceled in March because of a lack of a federally-required second crew member, only 80 of them were, RTD told Denver7, thanks to its employees filling in.

With no immediate solution, Fisher is thankful he's signed up for the agency's alerts so he knows when he'll have to find a different ride.