RTD Price to Increase in 2019

RTD users concerned about price increases taking effect in 2019. Photo: Madison Daley · The Sentry

RTD users concerned about price increases taking effect in 2019.
Photo: Madison Daley · The Sentry
Discounts to low-income and young riders

The Board of Directors for the Regional Transportation District (RTD) voted on Sept. 18 to increase the price of local, regional, and airport fares, which will take effect in January 2019.

Currently, the pricing for one-way rides is $2.60 for local, $4.50 for regional, and $9 for transport to DIA. However, with the price increase, the fares will become $3 for local and $5.25 for regional. The charge for the airport route will face the biggest price change at a $1.50 increase, totaling $10.50. There is a 20-cent additional fee for cash payers; MyRide cards and mobile tickets will not be subjected to this extra charge. 

The vote for the price increase is intended to collect enough money from those who are able to pay full price to provide a discount to those who are less fortunate or between the ages 6 and 19. 

People struggling financially are eligible for a 40 percent discount “if they are at 185 [percent] of the federal poverty level, meaning a family of three would be making approximately $40,000 per year,” according to The Denver Channel. Those in the age group between 6 and 19 will receive a bigger discount at 70 percent as announced by The Denver Post.

The revised prices won’t be implemented until early 2019, so the lower prices will still be available to RTD riders through the end of the calendar year. The discount program will follow, beginning in July 2019. 

The Student Advisory Committee to the Auraria Board (SACAB) is still in negotiations with RTD on how the price change will affect the RTD student pass.  “We are still evaluating the various pathways that we could take in respect to the relationship with RTD on both a long-term and short-term outlook,” Arya Afshang, a SACAB member, said. “I have continued to meet with Metro State, CCD, and AHEC on seeing how each pathway affects each institution in order to make sure that the negotiations with RTD are conducted in a tri-institutional manner where all three institutions are united to represent the interests of all students on the Auraria campus.”

With concerns of being charged more for student fees, Kira Morris, a sophomore English major, said, “Attending college in Denver is an incredible opportunity—an opportunity possible for many only [because of] the advantages of RTD, and it concerns me that a price increase will negatively impact that convenience. As a largely commuter school, RTD plays an important role in life as a CU Denver student in the Auraria community as a whole.” 

Morris had some optimism though and added this: “I can see the improvements that RTD is trying to make, such as opening the new G Line, which will provide service to Arvada, so I have some reassurance knowing that the increase in profit will be put back into the community.”

In order to inform their decision, the RTD Board of Directors held open houses over the summer throughout the Denver area, fielding people’s opinions. It’s unclear how heavily these opinions influenced the board’s decision; however, it is clear that RTD is still here to serve the public with the maze of transportation routes that run throughout the city. 

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