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Rail News: Passenger Rail

RTD OKs first fare hike in five years


The Regional Transportation District of Denver's (RTD) board yesterday approved a new fare structure with price increases to take effect Jan. 1, 2016, marking the first time in five years that the agency has raised fares.

The board touted the changes as an easier way for passengers to pay for trips across RTD's expanding system. The "slight" fare hikes also will help the agency meet future budget needs and prevent service cuts, RTD officials said in a press release.

The policies, which include a new pay-per-boarding system, will take effect before RTD launches four new rail lines and a bus rapid transit system under the FasTracks program.

The new policies call for:
• a single-boarding $2.60 local fare or, for the price of a round trip, a $5.20 local day pass to make unlimited trips on local bus and rail routes through the end of the service day;
• Regional bus and rail fares set at $4.50 per boarding or $9 for a regional day pass for unlimited local and regional trips, including those to and from Denver International Airport;
• Day passes priced at the cost of a round trip — eliminating the need for paper transfers — and available for purchase from printers on buses or ticket-vending machines at train stations;
• an airport fare of $9, which is $4 less than the current, highest SkyRide trip; and
• fewer light-rail zones, allowing more rail passengers to travel on a local fare.

Next year, RTD plans to phase in a plan to offer a smart-card system that allows riders to purchase fares electronically.

The new fare program was approved following a dozen public meetings and 16 formal public hearings to gather input for consideration, RTD officials said.

The agency posted more information about the changes on its website.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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