Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Did the fares increase, effective November 15, 2015?
A: No, cash fares did not changing at all. The base fare for a single-ride is still $1.50. You can still pay with exact change or with a Go Card.

Q: Did Transfer Tickets go away, effective November 15, 2015?
A: Yes. At this moment, GRTC is providing a One Ride Plus Pass that will replace what transfers are currently. When the customer pays for this Plus pass, the Farebox automatically will provide a One Ride Pass valid for 90 minutes. Effective November 15, 2015, Transfer Tickets are no longer necessary. The $0.25 transfers are no longer available. However, if you only ride one-way on two buses, there is a special pass just for you called the “One Ride Plus Pass” for $1.75. This allows you to purchase a ride going to your destination on one bus, then connect onto your next bus to continue your trip. If you are a reduced fare customer, ask your operator for a Reduced One Ride Pass. You get a free connection onto another bus!

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: GRTC is committed to helping customers acclimate to the new unlimited ride pass system. If you insert cash and forget to tell your operator you want to “connect” onto another bus to complete your one-trip, the operator will have the ability to issue a One Ride Pass good for 90 minutes to allow you to make your connection onto your next bus. This grace period will end in February 2016. After that, customers will need to tell the operator what type of bus ride they want to purchase before inserting any cash.

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 (this is the same cost as a bus ride plus a transfer today).

Q: What if I don't have exact change and overpay?
A: If you insert more money than is required for your fare, a Change Card will be issued. It is valid toward the fare on future bus rides. The money overpaid will be printed in the back.

Q: What is a Change Card?
A: A Change Card is a stored-value card printed by the farebox when the amount of money inserted is more than the required fare. The value of the card will be printed on the back. When used for future rides, insert the card into the Trim Unit and the farebox will deduct the appropriate fare and issue it back showing your remaining balance. If there's not enough value on the card to pay the required fare, you will need to put additional cash or another Change Card(s) into the farebox. Change cards are only valid on GRTC fixed-route buses and cannot be redeemed for cash, exchanged or refunded. Change cards expire one year from date of issue.

Q: Where can I use my Change Card?
A: Change cards are only valid on GRTC fixed-route buses and cannot be used on other transit agency systems. 

Q: When does my Change Card expire?
A: Change cards expire one year from date of issue.

Q: How do I use a Change Card?
A: Please insert the Change Card tickets into the slot on the top left of the farebox with the picture side of the ticket facing you. When inserting the Change Card, look for the directional arrow indicating the side to insert into the farebox. The value/ride is deducted and the farebox prints the deduction/balance and then pops the Change Card out for retrieval. 

Q: Can multiple Change Cards be used to pay my fare?
A: Yes, multiple Change cards may be inserted into the farebox to pay a single fare. They must be inserted one at a time.

Q: Can I use a Change Card and cash to pay my fare?
A: Yes. Insert your Change Card first, and then pay any balance required with either cash to pay the fare.

Q: What does my Change Card say?
A: The "CHANGE CARD" wording are printed on the ticket provided by the farebox.

Q: What if my commute requires two or more buses one-way? How much is my trip, effective November 15, 2015?
A: You can still choose to pay $1.50 + $1.50 + $1.50 and so on. However, if you only ride one-way on two buses, there is a special pass just for you called the “One Ride Plus Pass” for $1.75. This allows you to purchase a ride going to your destination on one bus, then connect onto your next bus to continue your trip. This pass can be purchased at the Farebox or at retail locations.
If you ride multiple trips in a day and make multiple connections, we have a new unlimited ride bus pass that will give you better value! For a one-day unlimited ride pass, the cost is $3.50. You can hop on and off busses as often as you want, no transfer tickets needed, during that transit day (which ends at 3AM). This provides more value to riders than is currently offered with our existing cash, GoCard and transfer ticket system. It is “cost-neutral” to riders and “revenue-neutral” to GRTC.

Q: How long is a one-day pass valid?
A: It is valid from the first time you insert to activate 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: How did you decide to charge $3.50 for the unlimited one-day pass?
A: Currently, if you ride one-way on two buses with a transfer, the cost is $1.50+$0.25=$1.75. When you add in your identical return trip, your total daily commute cost is $3.50. This is called “cost-neutral.” However, this new unlimited ride one-day pass allows you to ride more than just to and from your destination in a day! You can make stops at the grocery store after work, and then continue home, without paying more.

Q: What other unlimited ride passes are available, effective November 15, 2015?
A: Unlimited 7-Day pass and an unlimited 30-day pass.

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

Q: I still have GoCards! Will they still be accepted?
A: Yes! We expect the existing circulation of GoCards will take at least a year to complete their usage. You can still buy GoCards at vendors until each vendor sells out. You can also pay with a GoCard on the new farebox to get an unlimited pass instead. For example, you can use a $10 GoCard to pay for two one-day unlimited ride passes. The $10 GoCard will remain available for purchase and use even after the rest of the GoCards end.

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 will not be 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 for any of these time-periods should contact the GRTC Eligibility Coordinator to receive an ID card. This is a secure method of verification to ensure that “fare is fair” for all of our customers.

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, which is the case today. Reduced fares are only available for local routes.

Q: Why did you switch to an unlimited ride fare pass system?
A: This provides more value for transit riders, increasing the frequency options for transit travel. This is also the new industry standard across the country. Cash, however, will always be accepted! The $10 GoCard will remain available for purchase and use even after the rest of the GoCards end.

Q: Will credit/debit cards be accepted on the new fareboxes to buy fare passes?
A: Not at this time. This is for your customer information security!

Q: Where & when can I buy new fare passes?
A: At local vendors, in the online Transit Store, on a new mobile pay app coming this Winter, and on bus fareboxes (they will sell the unlimited one-day and 7-day passes onboard).

Q: How do I insert a new unlimited ride pass on the new electronic farebox?
A: Upon first use, insert the new unlimited ride pass in the upper left slot (where GoCards currently go into). This will activate the clock on the pass. Upon subsequent uses, swipe the unlimited ride pass in the horizontal card swipe slot (it looks like where you would swipe a credit/debit card), with the magnetic strip down to slide through the slot. It will work either way the pass faces you, but the magnetic strip must be down to slide through the slot.

Q: How much does it cost to purchase bus tickets and passes through the online Transit Store?
A: Standard Shipping & Handling is $2.50. Confirmed Delivery Shipping & Handling is $8.60.

Q: Remind me again…what GoCards will still be for sale until they phase out of circulation?
A: $1.50, $3, $5, $10, and $25 value Go Cards will still be for sale until they phase out of circulation from vendors and customers.  The $10 Go Card will remain available for purchase and use even after the rest of the GoCards end.

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, and may be ready to release them within the next two years.

Q: Will the fareboxes accept the Government, VCU & GRTC’s employees Swipe cards?
A: Yes, nothing changes. If you are using an employee swipe card, swipe every time you ride. There is no need to ask for a transfer ticket. Simply swipe on every bus you ride.

Q: Will the fareboxes accept the Senior, Disabled & ADA CARE GRTC ID Cards?
A: Yes, nothing changes. Please be aware that when a Reduced customer used their “Reduced” pass, a Photo ID card with proof of age is required for buying and boarding.

Q: What about the free transfers cards provided to some agencies. Will the fareboxes accept those cards ?
A: No, at this moment GRTC will not provide more of those cards.

Q: The Senior, CARE or Disable GRTC card is not working at the swipe card reader, can I swipe them in the other direction?
A: Yes, the new fareboxes card readers work on both ways.


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” depending on the card. Follow the instructions on each card.
    Remember to follow the rules of activation: first use = insert to activate; second use = swipe to ride.
     
  • 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 or Go Card 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, Pemberton Express or Henrico Express. Reduced fare upgrades are NOT valid on other expresses (Petersburg, Chesterfield, Kings Dominion), which is the case today.