Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I pay with cash and coin?
A: Yes. Both fareboxes and Pulse ticket vending machines accept cash and coin payment.

Q: Can I pay with my smart phone?
A: Yes! Download GRTC's Mobile Pass app.

Q: How do I use a Ticket Vending Machine?
A: We have a helpful guide HERE. Still need help? Experiencing a problem with a Ticket Vending Machine? CLICK HERE and let us know so we may assist you.

Q: What is a "tap pass?"
A: A tap pass is any fare media card that is tapped on a target reader area on a farebox or ticket vending machine, which reads the chip inside the pass and validates the pass. The customer simply taps the pass at the reader, and done! The target reader on the GRTC farebox is the oval on the top right. Here is an example of a smart tap pass:

The new smart icon )))) indicates the pass is tapped at the Farebox instead of swiped or inserted. These tap passes are simply tapped at this part )))) of the farebox:

Do not insert or swipe a tap pass at the farebox. Simply tap )))) and go!

Q: What is your employee ride program?
A: There are several options (of the same cost) available to employers and their employees! The best program available is our e-pass (employee pass) program, where your employer signs up to provide this transit benefit to you. This pass enables you to ride to/from work with this e-pass, and your employer can track your usage. Ask your employer to consider the e-pass program and contact RideFinders to learn more! 

Another option available to employers is to purchase the pass you need to get to/from work. For example, if you ride a local bus with a connection to/from work today, then the One Ride Plus pass is what you should ask your employer to purchase and provide for you. Make sure your employer knows how you ride so they can purchase the right pass for you. 

Q: I have a transit subsidy credit card provided by my employer. What can I buy with this credit card?
A: This special credit card is accepted at RideFinders and GRTC's Online Transit Store to purchase any of our fare media, such as One Ride Passes, One Ride Plus Passes, and our Unlimited Ride Passes (Day, 7 Day, 30 Day). 

Q: Can fareboxes issue a receipt or proof of payment?
A: No. Fareboxes only issue fare media.

Q: What is a refund slip?
A: If there is a farebox mechanical issue, GRTC can issue customers refund slips to remedy any lost fare resulting from a farebox issue. Refund slips are processed to the customer by mail from GRTC. Only GRTC is authorized to issue refunds. 

Q: What if I forget to tell my bus operator I want to buy a One Ride Plus Pass before I put in my $1.50 cash and then try to put in $0.25?
A: If you insert cash and forget to tell your operator you want to “connect” onto another bus to complete your one-trip, the farebox will only issue you a One Ride Pass ($1.50). 

Q: So after telling my operator I want a One Ride Plus Pass, how much cash do I need to put in at once?
A: $1.75 

Q: What if I don't have exact change and overpay?
A: GRTC's fare policy is for exact fare upon boarding. Fareboxes do not issue change. Ticket Vending Machines do issue change.

Q: How long is a one-day pass valid?
A: It is valid from the first time you activate it on a date, until the end of that transit day. I.e., this is not a complete 24-hour period like 7AM-7AM.  A transit day ends at 3AM.

Q: What if my pass is damaged or won't read correctly when swiped?
A: On the back of the pass, the end date and time for that pass will be printed. Simply show the expiration date/time to your bus operator to validate that the pass is still active. If your pass is damaged beyond legibility, you may surrender the pass to the bus operator and receive a refund slip. If your pass will not initally activate correctly, please surrender your pass to the bus operator to receive a refund slip.

Q: What if my pass is stolen or lost? 
A: GRTC is not responsible for replacement of stolen or lost passes.

Q: Can I share my bus pass with someone else riding with me?
A: No. Passes are non-transferrable. 

Q: Can I share my GRTC ID with someone else?
A: No. GRTC IDs are not transferable and may be deactivated if misused.

Q: How do I buy reduced fare passes? (Senior, Disabled, Medicare, Minor)
A: Eligible customers can purchase the Local Reduced Day Pass on the farebox after a customer shows a photo ID card with proof of age for operator verification (this is the same process as today). The 7-day and 30-day reduced passes are not for sale on the farebox.  The three options of the Day, 7-day and 30-day reduced passes will NOT be for sale in stores (as those vendors will not be responsible for verifying eligibility), nor will it be available in the Mobile Pay App. Customers wishing to purchase reduced fare passes can purchase from RideFinders, order by mail (PDF here) or contact the GRTC Eligibility Coordinator to receive assistance. This is a secure method of verification to ensure that “fare is fair” for all of our customers. Learn more about GRTC's Reduced Fare Program.

Q: What are the age definitions?
A:  A “Minor” is a person between the ages of 6 through 18 years. Kids age 5 and younger ride for FREE with one paying passenger. A “Senior” is 65 years of age or older. 

Q: What are the fares for children aged 5 and younger?
A: One Child 5 years of age or younger rides for FREE when accompanied with a fare-paying passenger. An additional Child 5 years of age or younger can ride for a Reduced Fare with a Photo ID card with proof of age.

Q: Are reduced fares available for express routes?
A: No. Reduced fares are only available for local routes.

Q: Will credit/debit cards be accepted on fareboxes to buy fare passes?
A: Not at this time. Ticket Vending Machines do accept credit/debit cards.

Q: Where & when can I buy fare passes?
A: At local vendors, in the online Transit Store, on GRTC's Mobile Pass app, at Pulse Ticket Vending Machines, and on bus fareboxes (they will sell the unlimited one-day and 7-day passes onboard).

Q: How do I activate an unlimited ride pass on the electronic farebox?
A: Upon first use, tap the unlimited ride pass on the upper right smart reader. This will activate the clock on the pass. Upon subsequent uses, tap the unlimited ride pass on the upper right smart reader. It will work either way the pass faces you.

Q: When could SmartCards be sold? (Those have a chip in them, you tap the card in the blue oval on the farebox, and they are reloadable)
A: We are currently researching SmartCard options.


Interacting with the Farebox:

  • If you want to buy your pass on the farebox (please note: only certain passes are available for purchase from the farebox! One Day and 7-Day Passes are sold, and also One-Day Reduced Fare Passes), the farebox screen will show you what you are buying “D/P LOC” = Day Pass Local for $3.50. You can pay with exact cash or a Go Card. Once you paid, the farebox will say, “Fare Deducted” and spit out from the top left slot a purple card labeled on the back with what you purchased, on which bus, at what time, and how long it is valid in larger print. The card is activated for you! Proceed onto the bus.
     
  • If you purchase a One Ride Pass (regular or reduced fare) on the bus farebox, the pass will pop up from the upper left slot with an EXPIRED print on the back.
     
  • Passes have instructions on them on the front (in the black background area), saying, “INSERT TO ACTIVATE – SWIPE TO RIDE” or “SWIPE TO RIDE” or "TAP TARGET AREA" depending on the card. Follow the instructions on each card.
     
  • If your pass says, "TAP TARGET AREA" then you tap the pass at this part )))) of the farebox:

    Do not insert or swipe a tap pass at the farebox. Simply tap )))) and go!
     
  • If your pass says, “INSERT TO ACTIVATE – SWIPE TO RIDE” then the first time you ride and use the pass, you first insert the card into the upper left slot (where GoCards are inserted today) with the green arrows pointing down and facing you. The back of your card will be printed with “FIRST USE: date and time. EXPIRES: date and time.” You may proceed onto the bus! On your next ride, you swipe the card into the horizontal slot horizontally with the magnetic strip sliding through the slot (face and direction DO NOT MATTER – any horizontal swipe will work!). The farebox will show you that the fare is satisfied with a green check mark. Enjoy your ride! 
    Remember to follow the rules of activation: first use = insert to activate; second use = swipe to ride.
     
  • If your pass says, “SWIPE TO RIDE” then you swipe the card into the horizontal slot horizontally with the magnetic strip sliding through the slot (face and direction DO NOT MATTER – any horizontal swipe will work!). The farebox will show you that the fare is satisfied with a green check mark. Enjoy your ride! 
    Remember to follow the rules of activation: first use = insert to activate; second use = swipe to ride.
     
  • If your pass says, “INSERT TO ACTIVATE” then you insert the card into the upper left slot with the green arrows pointing down and facing you.  NOTE: The One Ride Plus Pass is ALWAYS inserted and NEVER swiped, even on the second bus.
     
  • Once the card is activated (insert to activate) you cannot immediately swipe to ride (this is to prevent sharing passes between people on the same bus – i.e., fare evasion)
     
  • If your pass says “UNLIMITED” then you can ride as much as you want on any relevant route during that time-period. NOTE: The time period is for consecutive days of usage! For example, if you have the Unlimited 7-Day Pass, the clock starts upon first usage, and expires at the end of the 7th transit day.
     
  • There is NO downgrade fee. If you have an Unlimited Express Pass and want to ride on a local route, it is free to ride! Upgrade fees may apply to higher-fare routes, but same-fare or lower-fare routes are FREE to connect onto.
     
  • If you have an Unlimited Local pass, and then want to upgrade onto an express or extended express route, you must pay the upgrade fee, which the farebox will automatically calculate for you. For example, if you have a Local One Day Unlimited Pass for $3.50, and want to ride once on a Henrico Express, you can pay a $0.50 exact change to upgrade to get you onto the bus. See these upgrade fees HERE.
     
  • If a customer is using a Reduced Pass, every time it is inserted or swiped, the farebox will always say, “Please show ID.”  The customer must show a photo ID card with proof of age. Fare is fair!
     
  • GRTC has an ID Card program. Call GRTC at 804-358-3871 and ask to speak with the GRTC Eligibility Coordinator, or mail your request to Eligibility Coordinator, 301 East Belt Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23224.  
     
  • If a Reduced Pass customer wants to upgrade to a higher cost bus ride, the farebox will automatically calculate the upgrade fee. The customer will pay it, and then the farebox will say, “Please show ID” to verify for the bus operator. Reduced Pass customers can ONLY upgrade to a City Express or Henrico Express. Reduced fare upgrades are NOT valid on other expresses (Petersburg, Chesterfield, Kings Dominion), which is the case today.