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Introducing New Fare Structure in January

RTD’s simplified fare structure will also help us continue to fulfill our mission of providing safe, clean, reliable and efficient transit services to the nearly 3 million people who live in the Denver metropolitan region, and the millions more who visit us from around the world.

You may not know this, but RTD operates in one of the largest transit service areas in the United States, and our system is about to expand dramatically.

Coming up in 2016, we will open five new transit corridors, an undertaking no other public transit agency in the nation has ever accomplished in a single year.

Our new corridors will include a bus rapid transit (BRT) system, three commuter rail lines—an altogether new passenger rail service for Colorado— and another light rail line.

• the U.S. 36 Flatiron Flyer BRT will open Jan. 3
• the University of Colorado A Line to Denver International Airport will open April 22
• the B Line to Westminster will open next summer
• the G Line to Wheat Ridge and Arvada will open next fall
• and the R Line (a light rail line) through Aurora will debut near the end of 2016

In addition, in 2018 we will introduce the North Metro Rail Line, another commuter rail corridor, and celebrate the extension of the Southeast Rail Line into Castle Rock.

All of these projects are the outcome of RTD’s highly successful FasTracks program, and will provide greater mobility across the eight-county Denver metro region.

As you can see, the timing was right for RTD to implement a more efficient and more simplified fare structure. We needed to make sure our fare structure could keep pace with the state-of-the-art services and technology we expect to implement over the next few years. We also had to make sure it could help our agency meet its strategic budget goals in order to avoid painful service reductions.

Simply put, our goal was to simplify our fare structure in an equitable and cost-effective manner to better serve the needs of the RTD service area as we move forward as a much larger public transit agency. We believe we have accomplished those goals with our streamlined fare structure.

To get here, we conducted an extensive public engagement process over a nearly two-year period. We held more than two dozen public meetings and formal hearings, and our staff and directors met with hundreds of people across the district to get a better sense of their transit needs.

We also streamlined our Nonprofit Program, which provides millions of free and reduced fares through more than 240 Denver-area nonprofit and social service agencies. These changes will make it easier for nonprofits to participate in the program and to provide even more free and reduced fares to low-income individuals and families, the homeless and jobseekers.

Finally, we made good progress in partnership with the Affordable Fares Task Force and remain committed to working together on exploring possible funding sources to provide even more low-income fare alternatives.

There’s a lot to look forward to in 2016 and below are a few highlights to illustrate some of the benefits of RTD’s simplified fare structure taking effect January 1.

• Day passes will give passengers unlimited bus and rail trips through the entire service day for the price of a single round trip.

• With a $5.20 Local day pass, riders can take as many Local bus and rail trips as they’d like through the entire service day.

• With a $9 Regional/Airport day pass they can take as many Local and Regional trips as they’d like through the end of the service day—including trips to and from Denver International Airport.

• Passengers who qualify for half-fare discounts—elementary, middle and high school students ages 6-19, people 65 and older, passengers with disabilities and Medicare recipients—will pay $2.60 for Local day passes and $4.50 for Regional day passes.

• Single trips to and from DIA will cost a flat $9, regardless of where passengers board a bus or train.

• Passengers will be able to take more Local trips with our simplified rail zones system. Our new zones are A, B, C and Airport. Travel in one or two zones will require a Local fare. Travel in three zones will require a Regional fare. Trips to and from DIA will require an Airport fare.

• Passengers on some existing Express bus routes will pay less for their fares next year because we have simplified our bus service categories to include only Local and Regional fares.

In the end, we are grateful for all of our customers and ask that you join us as we celebrate the new and exciting changes taking place across the RTD system.