General Questions

The RTD smart card is a reusable plastic card the size of a credit card that contains a chip for passengers to buy, electronically load, and manage RTD passes and fares. Just tap the card on the smart card reader while boarding a bus or prior to boarding rail to validate your trip.

Smart card technology will allow RTD to capture more accurate ridership data to ensure fares, passes, and pass programs are priced appropriately.

Smart cards have an embedded chip that can process information. Smart card readers are installed on all buses and at all rail stations. Tapping a smart card to the reader can validate the card, update information on the card, and define the correct fare.

Using Your CollegePass

You can begin using your smart card as soon as you receive it.

CollegePass is valid fare payment on Local, Regional, and Airport bus and rail service. CollegePass is not valid on special services, including but not limited to, Access‑a‑Ride, BroncosRide, BuffRide, Rockies service, RunRide, and SeniorRide.

Step 1
Tap your card on a smart card reader, every time you ride, even when transferring between vehicles.

  • Bus: Board the bus and tap your card on the smart card reader next to the driver. By default, your ride is logged at the highest service level available (i.e., Local, Regional, Airport). Tell the driver if you wish a lower service level.
  • Rail: Locate the smart card reader near the rail platform, press Local, Regional, or Airport service and tap your card on the reader.

Step 2
Listen for a tone and watch for a light.

  • Yellow Light: Card is valid. Please show your CollegePass to the bus driver or to the fare inspector on light rail if requested.
  • Red Light: Card is not valid. Use other form of fare payment or call 303-299-CARD for assistance. If you feel your card should be valid, please contact your card administrator.

You do not need to tap your card when exiting a bus or train. Tapping is only required upon boarding. Few exceptions may apply on certain Regional bus routes.

Smart card readers are conveniently located at all rail stations. Many stations have more than one reader. Most often, readers are located in high-traffic pedestrian areas at the station or next to the rail platform where the train arrives.

The ridership data collected through smart cards will help us to more accurately price our programs and passes in the future. Knowing and selecting the correct level of service for your ride will ensure we have accurate data for contract pricing.

All smart card readers at rail stations are set at default fare settings used by the majority of passengers at that station. In this instance, you do not need to select a fare level. If you are traveling to a location other than the default setting, you must select the level of service (Local, Regional, or Airport) that corresponds to the station to which you are traveling. Signage is located at all rail stations behind each card reader to help you determine which level of service you should select for your trip.

Failure to tap or to select the correct service level may result in the following:

  • First Offense: Rider is issued a warning.
  • Second Offense: Seven day suspension of card.
  • Third Offense: 30 day suspension of card.
  • Fourth Offense: Pass is confiscated and suspended for the remainder of the calendar year.

No refunds or credits will be issued. If a CollegePass is suspended or confiscated, the pass holder is required to pay full fare during the suspension period. Failure to pay the fare during a suspension period is considered fare evasion and ticket may be issued.

Troubleshooting and More

Your card must be activated properly in order to ride bus or rail. If your card does not work as expected, contact your CollegePass card issuance office or call 303-299-CARD for assistance. You may be asked to pay your fare until your card is operational.

Please contact your CollegePass card issuance office as soon as possible. They will provide you with instructions for replacing your pass.

Yes. Read the smart card privacy policy.

Please email us at [email protected] or call our smart card Customer Service Center at 303-299-CARD.

Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00p.m.

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