New RTD light rail West Line to Golden now up and running

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GOLDEN, Colo. -- At long last, a new light rail line opens Friday in Golden.

It’s a cheaper option for thousands of people to quickly head downtown for work, sporting events and entertainment. New stations are also expected to be packed with people looking to take the headache out of their commute.

The new line will run from Denver’s Union Station to Golden’s Jefferson County Government Center with 11 stops in between. The trains on the new West Line are expecting to transport 20,000 passengers each week day.

Lakewood resident John Rodriguez will be among them.

“Now I’ve got an opportunity to just jump on a light rail, go downtown and not worry about parking,” he said.

The new light rail line also means businesses near the light rail will benefit as much as passengers.

“That’s what really draws people in," RTD spokesperson Daria Serna said. "You’ve got a captive audience. You’ll have people getting on and off a station.”

As far as Lakewood resident Bud Youngman is concerned, it’s about time the RTD implemented these changes in and around Denver.

“Other cities like Portland have had a light rail for years," Youngman said. "We’re just two centuries behind the times.”

The West Line means lots of new development for the area, too. You’ll see hundreds of apartments and 800,000 square feet of retail, office and medical space. The new Golden station also has a 1,000-space parking garage

And for the first time, commuters will be able to pay with a credit card. Regular prices range from $2.25 to $5 each way.

If you want to try out the new light rail lines in the Metro area,  you can ride free through Saturday, and there will be parties from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at all of light rail’s newest stations along the West line.