Let’s talk about fares

RTD will host informational meetings to provide updates about the completed Pass Program Study and current fare review. At these meetings, RTD staff will discuss fares, the Pass Program Study and the working groups fare recommendations, the agency and its budget, and more. Staff will be available to answer questions from the public.

Why are we reviewing our fares?

The agency conducts a scheduled fare review every three years to identify potential fare changes. This fare review is being informed in part by recommendations from a yearlong Pass Program Study.

Members of the 25-member Pass Program Working Group were asked to evaluate and recommend changes to RTD’s pass programs and existing fare policy. Participants included members of RTD staff and external community leaders representing schools, businesses, municipalities, neighborhood groups and advocacy organizations.

The working group examined a wide range of methods generating fare revenue, and a consultant modeled all the options and their impact on total fare revenue and ridership that will be used to develop a fare change proposal to be considered by RTD’s Board of Directors.

Fare Review presentation

What is RTD’s budget and expenses?

RTD’s budget includes operating and non-operating revenue, debt and reserves, capital expenditures, and fund balances, which support the base system, FasTracks construction projects and FasTracks operations.

Revenue is recorded when earned and expenses are recorded when incurred.

2018 Anticipated Expenditures:

  • Bus Operations $144.1 million
  • Rail Operations $126.5 million
  • Private Carrier Operations $104.3 million
  • Access-a-Ride Operations $47.5 million
  • Other Operating Costs $253.2 million
  • New Capital $187.8 million
  • Interest $174.6 million
  • Debt $64.7 million
  • Reserves $197.7 million

Total = $1.3 billion

Click the following chart to view more details:

Give us your feedback

Attendance at an open house is not required to comment.

We’ve outlined three fare options for discussion:

Option 1

No fare increase

  • Revenue will not meet fare targets in current strategic budget plan
  • Aspects of Pass Program Working Group full recommendation could be implemented
Option 2

Proposed fare increase per regularly scheduled fare review

  • Local one-way fare $2.60 to $2.90
  • Regional one-way fare $4.50 to $5.00
  • Airport one-way fare $9.00 to $10.00
  • Aspects of Pass Program Working Group full recommendation could be implemented
Option 3

Proposed fare increase with Pass Program Working Group recommendations

  • Local one-way fare $2.60 to $3.00
  • Regional one-way fare $4.50 to $5.25
  • Airport one-way fare $9.00 to $10.50
  • Implementation of Pass Program Working Group full recommendations

The Pass Program Working Group full recommendation:

  • Introduce low-income fare program, which would change the existing RTD nonprofit program.
  • Increase the discount for youth to 70 percent
  • Continue EcoPass, Neighborhood EcoPass, and CollegePass and price based on previous year’s utilization
  • Replace 3-hour one-way transfer with a 3-hour pass
  • Retain 10-Ride ticket book without 10 percent discount
  • Retain MyRide without $0.25 discount
  • Retain day and monthly passes
  • Retain FlexPass program without a discount
  • Discontinue ValuPass (instead purchase 12 monthly passes)
  • Non-profit and low-income programs to serve low income populations.

Modeling chart of three recommended fare options:

Fare Options Low-income program Youth fare Revenue
2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021
1. No fare increase
Current fare:
Local $2.60
Regional $4.50
Airport $9.00
Nonprofit program
- $6.8M cap
50% discount $152.8 $159.7 $164.6 94.1 98.1 99.4
2. Regularly scheduled fare review
Proposed fare:
Local $2.90
Regional $5.00
Airport $10.00
Nonprofit program
- $6.8M cap
70% discount $162.8 $171.2 $177.7 92.4 96.4 97.6
3. PPWG recommendation
Proposed fare:
Local $3.00
Regional $5.25
Airport $10.50
40% discount 70% discount $164.7 $171.2 $176.0 92.3 96.6 97.5
Strategic Budget Plan revenue target $165.2 $172.8 $175.3

What is RTD?

We’ve been providing public transit services since 1969, when the Colorado General Assembly created the Regional Transportation District (RTD) to develop, operate and maintain a mass transportation system for the benefit of 3.03 people in RTD’s service area. The 2,342 square mile district includes all or parts of eight counties: Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Jefferson, western Adams and Arapahoe counties, northern Douglas and small areas of Weld counties.

RTD is governed by a 15-member, publicly elected Board of Directors. Each member represents the voters, residents, and transit riders of a specific area within the eight-county service district. Each board member is elected to a four-year term and actively support and advocate for constituents’ concerns, while providing governance and establishing policies for the agency.

RTD services include 140 fixed routes:

  • 88 Local
  • 16 Limited
  • 20 Regional
  • 3 SkyRide
  • 8 Light Rail
  • 2 Commuter Rail
  • Free MallRide
  • Free MetroRide
  • SeniorRide

Additional services include Access-a-Ride and Call-n-Ride, as well as service to sporting events, concerts and other special events.

RTD’s fleet is comprised of 1,035 buses, 172 light rail trains, and 66 commuter rail trains, providing service 365 days per year.

How is RTD funded?

RTD’s main source of funding comes from sales and use taxes. The agency’s operating revenues come from sales taxes and passenger fares. Sales tax revenue account for 52 percent while passenger fares account for 12 percent, grants account for 34 percent and the remaining two percent comes from miscellaneous sources.

Sales and use tax revenues are affected by the local economy in which changes will affect the level of funding available to RTD during its fiscal year. RTD cannot adopt a budget with operating expenses exceeding anticipated operating revenue.