Teens with a MY Denver card can get $50 or $100 in RTD fares from city

A number 15 RTD bus on Colfax, Aug. 11, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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A number 15 RTD bus on Colfax, Aug. 11, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) rtd; bus; colfax; denver; colorado; transportation; kevinjbeaty; denverite;
A number 15 RTD bus on Colfax, Aug. 11, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver wants to know how youth use RTD, and they’re giving away 1,500 of RTD’s new smart cards to find out. Teenagers from age 14 to 18 who have a MY Denver card are eligible to get either $50 or $100 loaded onto a MyRide card.

In exchange, RTD, Denver Public Schools and city government get “an opportunity to track student use and better understand the transit needs of our young people.”

The hope is that any data collected will strengthen the city’s case to expand public transportation access for students. To do that, they will examine trip data that includes student age, zip code and bus route.

Though the program has been operating for six weeks, not all of the cards have been distributed yet.

That could be a good thing, though. Dionne Williams, deputy director of the Denver Office of Children’s Affairs told Chalkbeat that summertime usage offers imperfect data. Namely, RTD wants more evidence on how students use transit to get to school.

DPS currently purchases 2,500 passes per month, Chalkbeat reported, and both DPS and the city hope to instead purchase annual passes, which would be much cheaper.