RTD’s MyRide card is about to be reborn. Here’s how to keep tapping your way onboard

The new system launches in September
4 min. read
An RTD bus drives down a freshly-painted bus lane on 17th Avenue downtown. Dec. 13, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Ever since Christopher Nicholson landed in Denver in 2018, the car-less downtown resident has used his MyRide card to pay for his transit rides.

He used the Regional Transportation District's website to load money onto the card, then tap it at train stations and on buses. Easy-peasy.

Then, earlier this week, he tried to load his card -- and RTD's website wouldn't let him.

"I got the message that, 'Nope, sorry, we've discontinued these cards,' "he said. "That was the first I'd heard of it."

Nicholson said he couldn't find more information on RTD's website, and his call to customer service didn't turn up much either. So he asked Denverite for help. This is what we found:

The MyRide card isn't dying. But it is being reborn

RTD launched its MyRide card to fanfare in 2016. But it hasn't yet taken off, accounting for just 1.5% of total fare revenue in 2020 and 1.1% in 2021.

The original system, which RTD staff called "cumbersome and obsolete" in a 2021 presentation, stores balances and transaction data on the card itself. Customers had to wait up to 72 hours for balances to be updated after they added money, and it required more maintenance on RTD's end too.

The new system will store data in a back office, tied to a customer's account. Balances will be updated instantly, and customers can use a new, fancy-lookin' card or RTD's mobile app -- new validators at train stations and on buses will be able to read both. The system will also simplify things on RTD's end and be more secure, the transit agency says.

When's it launching?

In September. Until then, you can reload your existing, old MyRide card at the customer service counter at Safeway or King Soopers stores and at RTD sales outlets -- just not online. And starting Aug. 1, you won't have to pay any fares for the entire month.

Will I still get that sweet, sweet $.20 discount for using my MyRide card?

No, sorry. But it's not all bad news. The new system will automatically keep track of your purchases and upgrade you to a better pass once you've paid for it. For instance: when you buy enough day passes, they'll be converted to a monthly pass -- which means your rides will be free for the rest of the month.

"It's really great to see that," RTD board member Shelley Cook said at a recent board meeting.

An RTD equity analysis of that fare change found it is not likely to have a disparate impact on riders from underrepresented backgrounds or place a disproportionate burden on riders who have low incomes.

Will my existing MyRide balance be transferred to the new system?

Yes -- but action will be required by cardholders. More information will be provided next week. In the meantime, RTD says you should register your old card with your email address here to make sure that happens.

Are any other upgrades coming?

Sometime next year, it'll be easier to buy RTD MyRide cards at retail outlets like Safeway and King Soopers. Instead of going to customer service at those places, you'll be able to buy them like any other item at any register.

"Customers will be able to grab a card out of the gift card rack and then just check out and then ride," said Tonya Anderson, RTD's manager of electronic fare operations.

What about my EcoPass, or Neighborhood EcoPass, or CollegePass cards?

Carry on. The new card validators will be able to read those.

I still need more information!

RTD says its MyRide web page will be updated by the middle of next week with more details. This board presentation from May has some information too.

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