MSU Denver students carry the power to move in their pockets, but now this privilege comes with a bigger price tag.
In an interview earlier this semester, Emilia Paul, vice president of student wellness and engagement, called the school’s student ID/bus pass one of the university’s greatest resources.
Not only does the card have the ability to give a student entrance to a number of campus functions, it can also transport a student to points off campus via RTD buses and Light Rail.
For $74 a semester, university students are granted a bus pass that will take them further than a regional RTD pass that rings in at $1,936 a year will. Students carrying ID/bus passes are also allowed to use the RockiesRide or BroncosRide to ball games, benefits that have an additional cost for a regional pass holders.
Though the university is not requiring students to carry their student IDs this semester, anyone planning to use RTD’s transportation services need to carry their ID at all times. No student can travel by bus without either showing his or her student ID with a current RTD sticker or by paying a cash fare. Security guards wander Light Rail cars and randomly ask to see proof of a paid fare whether it be by bus pass, validated ticket or transfer.
“They’re on the bus to check passes in the morning, usually,” said Thompson Mahon, MSU Denver sophomore. “I forgot my pass once and they gave me a warning.”
Assistant City Attorney Kory Nelson said that as of June 8, riding without a fare has become a civil Class B traffic infraction rather than the petty criminal offense that it used to be.
When the violation was charged as a petty offense, students could bring proof of paid student fees to court and charges would be dropped. Under the new law, students will be fined regardless of whether they prove they paid the RTD fee with their tuition.
“The failure to have the proof of fare payment at the time is the violation, and presentation of said proof in court is not a legal defense,” Nelson said.
Nelson’s warning is timely, as many students riding the Light Rail and buses are unaware of the change.
“I’ve never heard of it,” Mahon said. “I don’t think anyone else has either.”
As a civil traffic infraction, Nelson said a fare citation will not result in jail, and a jury trial is not possible. This is a matter deal with in an informal matter in traffic court. The fine and smaller fees attached come to $82.50.
That doesn’t mean, though, that students don’t have to take the fine seriously. If a student chooses not to appear in court or pay their fine, a $30 fee is attached and a letter is sent out from the Department of Motor Vehicles warning the student of a six week timeframe in which to pay the fine.
“Students move around a lot,” Nelson said. “The DMV is going to send the letter to the last known address. If the student doesn’t get the letter and doesn’t pay the fine, their driver’s license is going to be suspended. Driving with a suspended license can result in jail time.”
The first step for students riding the bus, then, would be to carry their student ID with a current RTD sticker. Being caught without it can be costly.
Get there fast, save some gas — Auraria Guide to RTD
Students can access RTD to get to school from several different directions. Route 15 brings students to the north end of campus from Colfax Avenue, routes 20 and 1 service the west end at the Auraria Parkway, and routes 30, 16 and 8 stop at the south end of campus. Those who prefer to ride the rails can catch Light Rail lines H, F and D at Colfax on the south end of campus and lines C and E at the west end near the Campus Village at Auraria.
RTD offers several ways for students to plan their trips or check schedules: MyStop numbers on each RTD sign can be checked via the RTD phone system at (303) 299-6000. The website at rtd-denver.com is easy to use and regularly updated with current changes to help keep travel flowing as smoothly as possible. Buses also carry schedules for the routes they are traveling. Drivers will call out stops on request.