An Update on RTD Smart Cards

As of today, RTD stickers are a thing of the past. All students, staff, and faculty who would like to ride the bus or light rail need to have a smart card. Please keep your card from now until you leave the University. For students, it will automatically activate and deactivate based on your eligibility. If you are in an ineligible program and you think that many of the students in your program would be in favor of paying a Student Activities Fee in order to get a smart card, please contact Katie at

Whenever systems change there will be some hiccups, but we’d like to help make this transition as smooth as possible. Here’s a copy of the information that was communicated to RTD drivers about smart cards:

  1. If an EcoPass or CollegePass smart card is valid, It SHOULD display a YELLOW LIGHT when it is tapped on the smart card reader. If a YELLOW LIGHT displays, the passenger should show the card to you so you can confirm the photo matches the person using the card. If the photo reasonably matches, permit the passenger to board.
  2. If the passenger taps their card and the RED LIGHT is displayed, check your driver display unit. If the display reads “Invalid”, ask the customer to tap their card again and hold it against the reader for a second or two. If the light changes to YELLOW, check the photo and if it reasonably matches, permit the passenger to board. If the RED LIGHT displays again, check your display unit. If it reads “Invalid” or “Passback”, inform the passenger that there is something wrong with their card and they need to contact their transit pass administrator or the RTD Smart Card Customer Service Center at 303.299.CARD to find out what is wrong with their card. IN THIS INSTANCE, PERMIT THE PASSENGER TO BOARD IF THE PHOTO ON THE PASS MATCHES. DO NOT REQUIRE PAYMENT OF A FARE!
  3. If the passenger taps their card and the RED LIGHT is displayed and the driver display unit reads “HOTLIST”, that card IS NOT VALID. The passenger is required to pay a fare to board your vehicle.
  4. If the smart card reader on your bus is not working, TREAT THE SMART CARD AS AFLASH PASS. DO NOT REQUIRE PAYMENT OF A FARE! If you are driving a skyRide route and your reader is broken, DO NOT REQUIRE PAYMENT OF THE UPGRADE FEE TO ANY PASSENGER!


If you would like to report an operator not following proper procedures as stated above, please send an email to with the following information:

  • Explanation of procedure not followed
  • Time
  • Date
  • Boarding location
  • Bus number OR route and direction

RTD will contact the driver and educate him/her on proper procedure.