The Regional Transportation District’s Board of Directors approved changes to fares and pass programs that will take effect starting early next year, including the introduction of a low-income program, an increased discount for riders between 6 and 19 years old, and changes to fares.
The recommended package of fare policy changes – first approved last month by the board’s financial administration and audit committee – is forecasted to reach fare revenue target levels over the next three years. It delivers all the elements of a proposal that reflects feedback from thousands of people about three proposed options and RTD’s fare review process, scheduled to take place every three years. This comprehensive review of the agency’s fares and passes began at the request of RTD’s 15-member board, which authorized the examination in 2015 in response to public requests during the prior fare review.
Changes would be implemented starting in January, with a low-income program estimated to begin in July. A Title VI equity analysis of all changes has been completed, and no concerns were found per the board-adopted Disparate Impact and Disproportionate Burden Policy.
“The decision the board made tonight reflects the feedback and good work of many, many people deeply interested in ensuring that RTD is offering the passes and products that best meet their needs,” said CEO and General Manager Dave Genova. “This process has exemplified transparent public engagement, and I appreciate the board’s thoughtful desire for it.”
“My board colleagues and I congratulate the distinct process that was undertaken, as well as the tremendous effort by staff, the pass program working group and our stakeholders. All of us understand and have communicated to all interested parties the diverse viewpoints of our constituents, while focusing to work with each other. We most definitely appreciate the magnitude of this policy.”
With its approval tonight, the board has authorized the following changes to fares and passes:
• Introduce a low-income fare program, providing a 40 percent discount to households at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level.
• Increase the discount offered to riders between 6 and 19 years old to 70 percent. (Up to three children 5 and younger would continue to ride free with a fare-paying adult.)
• Introduce a 3-hour pass, replacing a 3-hour one-way transfer.
• Continue offering EcoPass, Neighborhood EcoPass and CollegePass, which will be priced based upon trips taken.
• Retain 10-Ride ticket books and MyRide smart cards with discounts.
• Retain day and monthly passes and FlexPass.
• Discontinue ValuPass (those interested instead could purchase 12 monthly passes).
• Increase Local fare to $3, Regional fare to $5.25 and fare to Denver International Airport to $10.50.
The board’s decision was informed by public comments gathered through a variety of means, including eight open house public meetings across the district, a telephone town hall meeting involving thousands of calls, the RTD webpage, meetings with agency advisory committees and Neighborhood EcoPass coordinators, and a districtwide telephone survey. More details about the fare review process, including RTD’s budget and expenses, are on the RTD website.