The day has come. Roaring Fork Transportation Authority — colloquially known by its acronym, RFTA — now accepts mobile payments in lieu of exact change or a bus pass.
The mobile ticket option was first activated on Nov. 21. Since then, every RFTA bus is equipped to admit passengers with a mobile pass.
An app, “RFTA Mobile Tickets”, can be downloaded on a passenger’s smartphone. Then a one-way, roundtrip or youth ticket can be purchased. The ticket won’t expire for three months, is refundable within 10 minutes of the purchase and is valid on all RFTA routes — as noted when buying a ticket through the app.
Prior to boarding, people can deposit money into a personal account set up through the app. Using the app comes with a perk: a 25% discounted rate. For instance, a round trip from Glenwood Springs to Carbondale and back is typically $4 ($2 each way); with the app, the same roundtrip costs only $3. Thirty-day zone passes as well as seasonal passes are also available through the app. The same 25% discount will continue to be available to stored value card holders, as has been the case for some time.
If they wish, cash riders can upload funds to their mobile account at the Ruby Park Transit Center in Aspen; or, tickets can be purchased in advance — or just before boarding — using a bank card through the app or online. When a rider first downloads the app and creates an account, they receive a free one-day bus pass. Purchased tickets are stored in a rider’s “ticket wallet” on the app.
Upon boarding, passengers scan a QR code from their phone which includes their destination information, cross the yellow line and find a seat.
“It’s pretty simple,” RFTA’s communications manager, Jamie Tatsuno, told The Sopris Sun. “I’ve used it myself and I would say it’s very intuitive.”
It’s still early, but many riders haven’t yet jumped on the bandwagon. Ashley Buckberg works as a nurse practitioner and occasionally likes to use the bus when there’s inclement weather or when her partner is using their shared vehicle. While she hasn’t yet made the transition to RFTA’s mobile ticketing option, she noted that it could help prevent situations where she’s left without exact change or a stored value card handy.
“RFTA is the connection between the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys, serving not just the great number of visitors we welcome year-round but also residents who use our service daily to commute to work, school and as they go about their daily lives,” said Dan Blankenship, chief executive officer at RFTA. “Introducing this new mobile fare payment system makes using our services safer, easier and more efficient for everyone.”
RFTA partnered with Masabi Justride, a fare payment platform for public transportation. According to its website, Justride serves 150 agencies in nine countries.
“Building on Masabi’s presence in Colorado with RTD Denver, ECO Transit, Bustang, CDOT [Colorado Department of Transportation] and Mountain Metro, our ticketing technology allows RFTA to quickly provide their customers with affordable and equitable fares, no matter how much or little they travel — making transit fairer and faster for all,” Brian Zanghi, chief executive officer of Masabi, said in a statement.
People who do not have a smartphone can, as before, still pay using exact cash, stored value cards or 30-day passes.
“We’re delighted to be going mobile and working with Masabi,” said Blankenship, “not just to make RFTA a better service for our locals, but a more efficient way of connecting our region.”
RFTA is the second largest transit provider in Colorado and the largest rural transit provider in the United States.
To learn more about RFTA mobile tickets, visit www.rfta.com