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Regional Transit Discount Card

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Accessible Transportation | Regional Transit Discount Card


Regional Transit Connection Discount Card Program


The Regional Transit Connection (RTC) Discount ID Card is available to persons with qualifying disabilities. You may use the card as proof of eligibility to receive discount fares on fixed-route, rail and ferry systems throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The RTC Program does not apply to paratransit services.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The RTC Program no longer issues cards to seniors (age 65 and over). The Senior Clipper card offers the same features and discounts, with no application fee, and does not expire. You can obtain a Senior Clipper card by mail, email and fax, or at your local transit agency. Click here for information on how to obtain a Senior Clipper card.

For specific fare information in your area, contact your local transit system. Click here for locations and hours of operation.

Applications for the RTC Discount ID Card are accepted at San Francisco Bay Area transit agency locations and forwarded to a central processing office, where application information is verified. Qualified applicants are then mailed the new RTC card.

Applying for an RTC Card


Apply for an RTC Discount ID Card at your local transit agency. Note the hours of operation of the agency before you go.

When applying for a Discount ID Card:
  • Complete an application form for either “Basic” or “Medical” eligibility (described below). Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • Present valid government issued photo identification - such as a current California driver’s license, California Identification Card, U.S. passport, Alien Registration Card, U.S. Military Identification Card or Military Dependent Card.
  • Pay the appropriate fee:
    $3.00 new, renewal, or visitor
    $5.00 replacement
    Fees are non-refundable.
  • For “Basic” eligibility, you must also bring the applicable documentation listed on the form. (See details below)
  • Your photo will be taken at the transit agency where you submit your application.

When you receive your RTC Discount ID card, you will be immediately eligible for reduced fares on all participating transit systems. No additional proof of eligibility is required, but you must show the Discount ID Card at the time you pay the fare.


Eligibility


There are two types of eligibility for RTC card: 1) “Basic Eligibility”, or 2) a “Medical” eligibility. If you have a Medicare card, we suggest that you submit a “Basic Eligibility” application.

Basic Eligibility


Basic Eligibility Form

If you are eligible under one of the “Basic” categories noted below, you are encouraged to apply under that category. “Basic” eligibility does not require medical certification.

To qualify for Basic Eligibility, you must bring one of the following with your application:
  • Medicare card, the federally-issued red, white, and blue card (not Medi-Cal) – only for those under 65 years of age.

  • California DMV Placard Registration parking placard receipt. If you bring the blue placard, you must also bring the registration receipt. If you have disabled license plates (DP) instead of a placard, you must submit a “Medical Eligibility” form. (See details below)

  • Other California transit agency card that is equivalent to the RTC Card.

  • Proof of Veterans Disability- A copy of your Service Connected Disability ID card and your VA Certification letter demonstrating a disability rating for aid and attendance or for a service-connected disability with a rating level of 50% or higher. Please note that it may take more than several months to verify your application with the VA due to their current work volume. For a quicker turnaround, it is recommended that you submit a “Medical Certification” application instead.

Medical Eligibility


To qualify under “Medical Eligibility,” you must be medically certified by one of the licensed professionals described below.

To qualify for Medical Eligibility:

Complete the appropriate sections of the Medical Certification form. Forms are available from your transit agency.

Sign the application in two places: 1) to authorize your doctor to release information, and 2) to indicate your acceptance of RTC Program terms. If your application is not signed in both places, it cannot be processed and will be returned to you.

Bring the Medical Certification form to your “Certifying Professional.” The Certifying Professional must complete the form and mail the green copy to the Discount ID Card Program Office at the address shown on the form. Your application will be considered incomplete unless the certifying professional has returned the form.

Keep the other copies and bring them with you when you have your photo taken at your transit agency. It is recommended that you have the form completed before going to the transit agency. If your doctor has not completed his/her portion of the form, the process could take more than 21 days.

Photocopies of the medical application are not accepted under any circumstances.

Renewing a Card

Renewal Application

A renewal notice will be sent to you two months prior to the expiration date on your card if you have a permanent disability, or if you provided a Medicare card as proof of eligibility. Other “non-permanent” cardholders must complete the application process each time their card expires. It is your responsibility to ensure that the transit agency has your current address. If you do not receive a mail reminder, download the Renewal Application here: Renewal Application. Or, you may call your transit agency and request a renewal application. If you are a Senior who has been using an RTC card, you will be asked to apply for a Senior Clipper card when your RTC card expires.

Mail your completed application to the RTC Central Processor with a $3 personal or cashier’s check.  Do not send cash:

P.O. Box 70040
Oakland CA 94612-0040

Or you may bring your completed application and $3 fee to your transit agency.

For those using DMV Disabled Parking Placards:  Your renewal application cannot be processed until your new DMV Placard number is submitted and verified. If applying in person, bring the DMV Placard registration issued by the DMV with you. If applying by mail, send a photocopy of the receipt with your application.

Replacing Lost or Stolen Cards

First, check with your local transit agency to see if the card has been returned. If so, you may reclaim your old card at no cost. If not, download a form here:  Lost Card Application.You can have the transit agency mail you the form, or you may go to your nearest transit office to fill one out and pay the $5 fee.

You can also mail the application or a written request for a replacement directly to the Central Processor (P.O. Box 70040, Oakland CA 94612-0040). Be sure to include your name (as it appears on your card), card identification number (if you have it), date of birth and current address with a written request. You must include the $5 payment in the form of a personal or cashier’s check. Do not send cash.

You will receive a replacement card by mail within 7-10 days. We are not able to issue a temporary card in the interim.

Be sure to take good care of your RTC Discount ID Card! We will only replace your card up to three (3) times within a 12-month period at a cost of $5.00 for each time. You will not be issued another card within that period. However, if you feel that your disability is such that you are prone to losing personal items, you may submit a “Disability Justification” form for additional replacements. This form can be requested at the time of your 4th replacement application. Your doctor must complete this form and mail it directly to the Central Processor.

You will also be charged the $5 replacement fee if the card is damaged due to poor care.

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Can I pay a discount fare without an RTC Discount ID Card?
  2. Can I purchase a discount pass for unlimited rides in the month?
  3. What if I need to travel with an attendant?
  4. What if I need to travel with a service animal?
  5. How long is the card valid?
  6. I am visiting the Bay Area and have a discount card from a transit system in another city. May I use it instead of applying for an RTC Discount card?

Q1:    Can I pay a discount fare without an RTC Discount ID card?

A:    Yes, but you must show a valid photo ID and one of the following when you board bus, ferry or rail vehicle:
  • Medicare card (not Medi-Cal)
  • A current Disabled Person Parking Placard Receipt from the California Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Transit discount ID card issued by another California transit agency if it is equivalent to the RTC Discount ID Card.
  • If you are a Senior, (65 or older) you may pay a discounted fare using a Senior Clipper card. Click here for information on getting a Senior Clipper card.

Q2:    Can I purchase a discount pass for unlimited rides in the month?

A:    Many agencies offer monthly discount passes that must be electronically loaded onto an RTC/Clipper card, or stickers that can be placed on the card. Contact your transit agency for more information.

Q3:    What if I need to travel with an attendant?

A:    Your medical professional can check the box on the Medical Certification application, indicating your need for an attendant. You may use your card with the attendant symbol in order to pay discounted cash fares for the attendant. If you would like to have your attendant use a Clipper card, you can apply for an "Attendant-Limited" Clipper card at your transit agency. The attendant will not receive his/her own RTC Card nor be included in the photo on your card. The attendant is eligible for the discount fare only when accompanying you and must pay regular fare at all other times.

Q4:    What if I need to travel with a service animal?

A:    A service animal is any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Certification or documentation is not required for your service animal. However, the service animal must be under your control at all times. The RTC Discount ID Card does not contain any special marking for a service animal, and a photograph of your animal is not required for your ID card.

Q5:    How long is the card valid?

A:    RTC Discount cards are valid for a maximum of five years. Your card may be valid for less if 1) your medical professional determines otherwise, or 2) your eligibility is tied to a qualifying document that is valid for a shorter period such as a DMV placard (2 years), or 3) you used a card from another transit agency as proof of eligibility. You must renew your card at each expiration even if your disability is permanent. Note that this is a change. Cards issued prior to September 1st 2012, were only valid for three years.

Q6:   I am visiting the Bay Area and have a discount card from a transit system in another city. May I use it instead of applying for an RTC Discount card?

A:    Yes, in many cases. If you plan to take transit frequently during your stay you should consider applying for an RTC Card. The RTC Card is more familiar to operators and offers the convenience of a smart card to pay fares.

California Transit Systems: You are eligible for discount fares when you show a valid transit discount ID card from a California transit system outside of the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. Alternatively, you may apply, with a $3 processing fee, for a one-time courtesy RTC Discount card for the same period that your CA ID card is valid, or up to three years, whichever is less. You will need to submit a complete medical or basic application when your courtesy card expires.

Out-of-State Transit Systems: Transit operators may not accept out-of-state ID cards. If your stay is less than 3 months, you may want to apply for a one-time courtesy card, using your other ID as proof of eligibility. You would submit a “Basic Eligibility” application, pay the $3 processing fee, and receive an RTC Discount card. If you are visiting for more than three months, you would then be required to follow the regular application process to get another RTC Discount card.

Transit Agency RTC Processing Locations

Note: Where times are not indicated, please call the transit agency to determine days and times applications are processed.

AC Transit (Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District)
Customer Services 1600 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612
510/891-4706; TDD 711 through the California Relay Service
Applications accepted Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

BART (San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District)
800 Madison Street, Oakland, CA 94607 (Lake Merritt BART Station) 510/464-7133; TDD
510/839-2218 Applications accepted Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m.; 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

Caltrain (Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board)
Apply at SamTrans, VTA or Muni.

County Connection (Central Contra Costa Transit Authority)
2477 Arnold Industrial Way, LINK Paratransit Building
Concord, CA 94520
925/676-1976 ext. 2066 or 2067; TDD 800/735-2929 VOICE 800/735-2922
Applications accepted Monday - Friday 8 a.m.– 12 p.m.; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Golden Gate Transit (Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District)
850 Tamalpais Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901 (San Rafael Transit Center, Platform D)
(415) 455-2000 or 511/711
Applications accepted Monday-Friday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm

Muni (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency)
SFMTA RTC Discount ID Office
27A Van Ness Avenue @ Market, San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 252-3291; TDD 415 701-4730
Applications accepted Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.- 4 p.m.

SamTrans (San Mateo County Transit District)
1250 San Carlos Avenue, San Carlos, CA 94070-1306
800/660-4287; TDD 650/508-6448
Applications accepted Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Santa Rosa City Bus
100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
707-543-3333
Applications accepted ”regular business hours”., Room 6.

Solano Mobility Call Center
Suisun City, CA 94585
800-535-6883
(Please call for business hours and address)

Sonoma County Transit
355 West Robles Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95407
707/576-7433; TDD 707/585-9817.
Call for an appointment.

SolTrans
311 Sacramento Street, Vallejo, CA 94590
707/648-4666
Applications accepted Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Tri Delta Transit (Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority)
801 Wilbur Avenue, Antioch, CA 94509 925/754-6622; TTY 925/754-3695
Applications accepted Tuesday and Thursday, 1 – 4 p.m.

VTA (Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority)
408/321-2300, TDD only 408/321-2330; www.vta.org
  1. Downtown Customer Service Center
    55-A West Santa Clara Street San Jose, CA 95113
    Applications accepted Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  2. VTA Offices
    3331 N. 1st St., Bldg. B Lobby, San Jose, CA 95134
    408/321-2300; TDD 408/321-2330
    Applications accepted Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Wheels (Livermore/Amador Valley Transit Authority)
1362 Rutan Ct., Suite 100, Livermore, CA 94551
925/455-7555
Applications accepted Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

***
NOTE: TDD USERS: You can contact any telephone number at 711 through the California Relay Service, 800/735-2929 or 800/735-2922 (voice).

Cardholders can also use the RTC card to travel at a discount fare on other regional transit agencies including:

Petaluma Transit
11 English Street, Petaluma, CA 94952
707/778-4460

Fairfield and Suisun Transit (FAST)
707/422-2877

Vacaville City Coach
707/449-6000

Medical Certifier Information


If you are submitting a medical application, only the following professionals who are licensed in the State of California to diagnose may complete the form:
  • Licensed physicians with an M.D. or D.O. degree, licensed physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners may certify in all categories in which they are licensed to diagnose;
  • Licensed chiropractors, categories 1, 2, 3 and 4;
  • Licensed podiatrists, disabilities involving the feet under categories 1, 2, 3 and 4;
  • Licensed optometrists (OPT), for category 9;
  • Licensed audiologists (AU), for category 10;
  • Licensed clinical psychologists (PSY) and licensed educational psychologists (LEP), for categories 12, 15, 16 and 17;
  • Licensed marriage and family counselors (MFCC) and licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), for category 17.
Your certifier's address and medical license information (required on each application form) will be verified with the state Medical License Board, and will be entered into our database.

Only individuals meeting the definitions below are eligible. When completing the application form, please indicate a Section Code corresponding to the descriptions below.

Eligibility Criteria Section Codes


Section 1 – Non-ambulatory Disabilities
Impairments that, regardless of cause, require individuals to use a wheelchair for mobility.

Section 2 – Mobility Aids
Impairments that cause individuals to walk with significant difficulty including requiring use of a leg brace, cane, walker or crutches.

Section 3 – Musculo-Skeletal Impairment (Including Arthritis)
Musculo-skeletal impairment such as muscular dystrophy, osteogenesis imperfecta or arthritis of Functional Class III or anatomical Stage III. Individual has significant mobility impairment.

Section 4 – Amputation
Persons who suffer amputation of, or anatomical deformity of (i.e., loss of major function due to degenerative changes associated with vascular or neurological deficits, traumatic loss of muscle mass or tendons and x-ray evidence of bony or fibrous ankylosis at an unfavorable angle, joint subluxation or instability): (a) Both hands; or (b) one hand and one foot; or (c) amputation of lower extremity at or above the tarsal region (one or both legs).

Section 5 - Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke)
With one of the following: (a) pseudobulbar palsy; or (b) functional motor deficit; or (c) ataxia affecting two extremities substantiated by appropriate cerebellar signs or proprioceptive loss post 4 months

Section 6 - Pulmonary Ills
Respiratory impairments of Class 3 (FVC between 51 and 59% of predicted, or FEV between 41 & 59% of predicted); or Class 4 (FVC less than or equal to 50% of predicted, or FEV less than or equal to 40% of predicted.

Section 7 - Cardiac Ills
Cardiovascular impairments of functional Class III: Individuals with cardiac disease resulting in marked limitation of physical activity. They are comfortable at rest. Less than ordinary physical activity causes fatigue, palpitation, dyspnea or anginal pain. For instance, inability to walk one or more level blocks or climbing a flight of ordinary stairs.) or Class IV: Individuals with cardiac disease resulting in inability to carry out any physical activity without discomfort. Symptoms of cardiac insufficiency or of the anginal syndrome may be present even at rest. If physical activity is undertaken, discomfort is increased.

Section 8 - Dialysis
Individuals whose disability requires the use of a kidney dialysis machine.

Section 9 – Sight Disabilities
Those individuals whose vision in the better eye (after correction) is 20/200 or less; or those individuals whose visual field is contracted (tunnel vision) to 10° or less from point of fixation or widest diameter subtends an angle no greater than 20° and individuals who are unable to read information signs or symbols for other than language reasons.

Section 10 – Hearing Disabilities
Deafness or hearing incapacity that makes person unable to communicate or hear warning signals including those persons whose hearing loss is 70 dba or greater in the 500, 1000, 2000 Hz ranges.

Section 11 – Disabilities of Incoordination
Individuals suffering faulty coordination or palsy from brain spinal or peripheral nerve injury, functional motor deficit in any two limbs or manifestations which significantly reduce mobility, coordination or perceptiveness.

Section 12 – Mental Retardation
Refers to subaverage general intellectual functioning which originates during the developmental period or as the result of illness or accident later in life and is associated with impairment in adaptive behavior (a general guideline is an IQ more than two standard deviations below the norm).

Section 13 – Cerebral Palsy
A disorder dating from birth or early infancy or as the result of illness or accident later in life, non-progressive, although if not treated there is marked regression in functioning characterized by examples of aberrations of motor functions (paralysis, weakness, incoordination) and often other manifestations of organic brain damage such as sensory disorders, seizures, mental retardation, learning difficulty and behavioral disorders.

Section 14 – Epilepsy (Convulsive Disorder)
A clinical disorder involving impairment of consciousness, characterized by seizures (e.g. generalized, complex partial, major motor, grand mal, petit mal or psychomotor), occurring more frequently than once a month in spite of prescribed treatment, with (a) diurnal episodes (loss of consciousness and convulsive seizure); (b) nocturnal episodes which show residual interfering with activity during the day; or (c) a disorder involving absence (petit mal) or mild partial (psychomotor) seizures occurring more frequently than once per week in spite of prescribed treatment with: 1) Alternation of awareness or loss of consciousness; and 2) Transient post-ictal manifestations of conventional or antisocial behavior. Persons exhibiting seizure-free control for a continuous period of more than six months duration are not included in the statement of Epilepsy defined in this section.

Section 15 – Infantile Autism
A syndrome described as consisting of withdrawal, very inadequate social relationships, language disturbance and monotonously repetitive motor behavior. Many children with autism will also be seriously impaired in general intellectual functioning. This syndrome usually appears before the age of 6 and is characterized by severe withdrawal and inappropriate response to external stimuli.

Section 16 – Neurological Impairment
A syndrome characterized by learning, perception and/or behavioral disorders of an individual whose IQ is not less than two standard deviations below the norm. These characteristics exist as a result of brain dysfunctions, neurologic disorder or any damage to the central nervous system, whether due to genetic, hereditary, accident or illness factors. This section includes persons with severe gait problems who are restricted in mobility.

Section 17 – Mental Disorders
A DSM Code is also required. Note: if a person's disorder is in remission or primary incapacity is acute or chronic alcoholism or drug addiction, they will be specifically excluded from discount fare eligibility. Individuals whose mental impairment substantially limits one or more of their major life activities. This includes inability to learn or care for oneself. A principal diagnosis from the DSM IV classification in one of the following areas is required for eligibility: Organic Mental Disorders, Schizophrenic Disorders, Paranoid Disorders, Psychotic Disorders, Affective Disorders, Somata Form Disorders, Dissociative Disorders, Adjustment Disorders, Psychological Factors Affecting Physical Condition, and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Diagnosis must be at Class 3 to 5 levels. Moderate impairment is the minimum in order to qualify under this section.

Section 18 – Chronic Progressive Debilitating Disorders
Individuals who experience chronic and progressive debilitating diseases that are characterized by constitutional symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, weight loss, pain and changes in mental status that, taken together, interfere in the activities of daily living and significantly impair mobility. Examples include: (a) Progressive, uncontrollable malignancies (i.e. terminal malignancies or malignancies being treated with aggressive radiation or chemotherapy); (b) Advanced connective tissue diseases (ie., advance states of disseminated lupus erythematosus, scleroderma or polyarteritis nodosa); (c) Symptomatic HIV infection (i.e. AIDS or ARC) in CDC-defined clinical categories B and C.

Section 19 – Multiple Impairments
This category may include, but not be limited to, persons disabled by the combined effects of more than one impairment, including those related to age. The individual impairments themselves may not be severe enough to qualify as a Transit Dysfunction; however, the combined effects of the disabilities may qualify the individual for the program. This category may include, but not be limited to, persons disabled by the combined effects of more than one impairment, including those related to age. The individual impairments themselves may not be severe enough to qualify as a Transit Dysfunction; however, the combined effects of the disabilities may qualify the individual for the program.