RTD College Pass Program


The smart card is a separate ID which has an embedded RFID chip and has your name and photo printed on the card. See the list below to help answer your questions:

  • Can I use my College Pass to get to the Denver International Airport (DIA)?

Yes, your College Pass will get you to the airport and back without paying the fare box a single penny. This trip is normally $13 each way from Boulder. RTD runs two buses instead of one and has a support vehicle and extra personal to help get you loaded on the bus quickly and off to the airport during peak student travel times. For schedules and more skyride information click here.

  • My card keeps failing when I tap it on the bus' card reader.

Update as of August 1, 2014:  If you are experiencing problems with your bus pass please be patient as RTD has reset the expiration date on thousands of cards and their system takes a couple of days to sync everything together.  The more often you ride the faster the system will recognize your card.

RTD has sent out the memo below to their drivers, which instructs them to allow students to ride the bus. The only exception is if we have actually deactivated your card. We do this to your old card when you have gotten a replacement card or if you have graduated. If you aren't sure of your card status please send an e-mail to buspass@colorado.edu with your name and the 8 digit code that starts with 00 below your photo on the bus pass. I will check your card in the RTD portal to confirm if it is active or not.

If a driver denies you access to ride or charges you and you have paid your Fall or Summer student bus pass fee, please contact RTD customer service at www.rtd-denver.com or 303-299-6000 with the route, bus #, direction of travel, stop, and time/date of this problem so they can directly contact the driver. We can also forward this info to RTD if you send it to buspass@colorado.edu

Feel free to print this bulletin and present it to your bus driver (or show this website) if they don't allow you to board free of fare.  RTD dispatchers have also received this information and can assist the driver if they call in requesting clarification. (edited  8/1/14)

Download as PDF

  • Where and when can I pick up my new pass?

New students who will be living off campus can pick up their bus pass at the Buff OneCard office in C4C starting on Wednesday, August 7.  If you are living in a residence hall your card will be picked up from your hall's front desk during move-in. Continuing students will use the card that was issued in the spring semester.

  • I'm not enrolled in classes this semester, but I want to keep riding the bus. Can I buy a pass?

If you are taking a semester off and are officially enrolled in the Stay Connected or Time Off program, you can purchase a bus pass. Currently the pass is $85 a semester and you can purchase it from the Buff OneCard office in C4C. If you have graduated or withdrawn from classes please contact RTD to purchase a bus pass.

  • I would like to waive the bus pass fee

The College Pass program is a mandatory fee that was passed by the student body in 1991 and again in 2009. However, if you already have a valid EcoPass, a valid military pass, live outside of the RTD service area, or have a disability that prevents you from using public transit you can get a refund to your bus program fee. For more information view the Student Bus & Bicycle Program Fee Waiver Policy here. If you meet the qualifications, fill out this request form and we will verify your eligibity and process your fee waiver.

RTD is an important partner of the sustainable tranportation program with the College Pass program. In 1991, students voted in favor of adding a student fee to the general fees paid along with tuition. Each semester, every student is issued a bus pass that can be used in conjunction with the Buff OneCard. With this pass, ride any regularly scheduled RTD route fare-free. CU fee-paying students can pick up their bus pass card at the Campus Card Office in room N180 in the Center for Community building.

Use Google's Trip Planner for RTD here.

Special Transit is an important partner of the Sustainable Transportation Program because of the Student Bus Pass and Late Night Transit. The popular HOP bus route is operated by Special Transit and, like other RTD routes, is fare-free when students present their Bus Pass. Late Night Transit is a late night/early morning bus service operated by Special Transit.

In the spring of 2009, students voted 8:1 in favor of increasing their fee to maintain their bus pass & bicycle programs.