Regional Transit Connection Discount Card Program
This program has been designed to make access to the RTC Discount ID Card as convenient as possible
to eligible individuals. This information is intended to tell you about the program whether you
currently have an RTC Discount ID Card or are interested in obtaining one for the first time.
The Regional Transit Connection (RTC) Discount Card is available to qualified persons with disabilities. The card makes it easier for you to demonstrate your
eligibility for reduced fares on fixed-route transit, bus, rail and ferry systems throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Applications are accepted at all San Francisco Bay Area transit systems and then forwarded to a
central office where applications are reviewed, information is verified and an eligibility determination
is made. An RTC Discount ID Card will be mailed to eligible applicants within 21 days.
The RTC Clipper Card is a version of the Clipper card created for passengers with qualifying
disabilities. Transit riders currently can use the RTC Clipper Card's special Clipper features to pay
their fares on Muni, BART, AC Transit, VTA, SamTrans, Caltrain and Golden Gate Transit and Ferry. Passengers who use
transit agencies that do not yet accept Clipper can use the RTC Clipper Card as proof of eligibility for
reduced fares or a disabled monthly pass or sticker.
If you have an RTC card with a TransLink logo, it can be used just the same way as the RTC Clipper card,
there is no need to exchange your RTC TransLink card for a RTC Clipper card. When your card expires and
you receive a new one, at that time you will receive a card with the Clipper logo.
The information below will guide you through the process for obtaining your RTC Discount ID Card.
How to Get a Discount Card
A: Apply in-person at your local transit agency. If you need a form sent to you, call
your local transit agency.
Check the days and times listed below to see when applications are accepted by your local transit operator before you go.
When applying for a Discount ID Card:
Complete the application form for either "Basic" or "Medical" eligibility (described below). Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
Bring the application with you. Do not mail it in.
Present a valid photo identification - such as a current driver's license,
California Identification Card, passport, Alien Registration Card, Military
Identification Card or Military Dependent Card.
Pay the appropriate fee:
$3.00 New, renewal, or visitor
(These fees are non-refundable.)
For "Basic" eligibility, you must also provide the documentation listed below.
Your photograph will be taken at the transit agency when you submit your application.
Your eligibility will be verified later, and your Discount ID Card will be mailed to you
within 21 days. If you haven't received your card or a request for more information in the
mail within 21 days, contact the transit agency where you submitted your application.
Upon receiving your Discount ID Card, you are immediately eligible for reduced fares on all
participating public transit systems. No additional proof of eligibility is required, but you
must show the Discount ID Card at the time you pay the fare.
How do I demonstrate my eligibility for the Discount ID Card?
1. Basic Eligibility
To qualify for Basic Eligibility, you must present one of the following with your application:
- Medicare Card (not Medi-Cal).
California DMV Placard or valid registration for a parking placard.
(See Questions and Answers about the Program Section - How long is my card valid?).
Other Transit Agency or Visitor Card issued to you by another California
transit agency. (See Questions and Answers about the Program Section about out-of-state Discount ID Cards).
Proof of Veterans Disability - A copy of your Service Connected Disability I.D.
Card or your VA Certification demonstrating a disability rating for aid and attendance, or a
service-connected disability with a rating level of 50% or higher.
2. Medical Eligibility
If you submit a medical certification it must be completed by one of the following licensed professionals:
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, category 9;
- Licensed audiologists, category 10;
- Licensed clinical psychologists and licensed educational psychologists, categories 12, 15, 16 and 17;
- Licensed marriage and family counselors (MFCC) and licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), category 17.
You may qualify in this category if your disability meets one of the following:
Impairments that, regardless of cause, require individuals to use a wheelchair for mobility.
Impairments that cause individuals to walk with significant difficulty, including individuals using a leg brace, cane, walker or crutches to achieve mobility.
Musculo-Skeletal Impairment (Including Arthritis).
Musculo-skeletal impairment such as muscular dystrophy, osteogenesis imperfecta or any type of arthritis; such as functional Class III or anatomical Stage III.
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).
Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke).
With one of the following: (a) pseudobulbar palsy; or (b) functional motor deficit in any of two extremities; or (c) ataxia affecting two extremities
substantiated by appropriate cerebellar signs or proprioceptive loss post 4 months.
Respiratory impairments of Class 3 and 4. Class 3: FVC between 51 percent and 59 percent of predicted; or FEV between 41 percent & 59 percent of predicted.
Class 4: FVC less than or equal to 50 percent of predicted; or FEV less than or equal to 40 percent of predicted.
Cardiovascular impairments of functional Class III or IV. Functional Classification: 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. 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.
Individuals whose disability requires the use of a kidney dialysis machine.
Those individuals whose vision in the better eye, after best correction, is 20/200 or less; or those individuals whose visual field is contracted (commonly known as tunnel vision):
(a) to 10 degrees or less from a point of fixation; or (b) so the widest diameter subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees; and (c) individuals who are unable to read information
signs or symbols for other than language reasons.
Deafness or hearing incapacity that makes a 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.
Disabilities of Incoordination.
Individuals suffering faulty coordination or palsy from brain, spinal or peripheral nerve injury and any person with a functional nerve injury and any person with a functional motor deficit in any two limbs or
who suffers manifestations which significantly reduce mobility, coordination or perceptiveness not accounted for in previous categories.
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 which is more than two standard deviations below the norm).
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.
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) Alteration 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 (6) months duration are not included in the statement of Epilepsy defined in this section.
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.
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
(any disorder in learning using the senses), neurologic disorder or any damage to the central nervous system, whether due to genetic, hereditary, accident or illness factors. This section includes people with severe gait problems who are restricted in mobility.
Individuals whose mental impairment substantially limits one or more of their major life activities. This includes inability to learn, work 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 not elsewhere classified, Affective Disorders, Somata Form Disorders, Dissociative Disorders, Adjustment Disorders,
Psychological Factors Affecting Physical Condition, and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. These diagnoses must be at Class 3 to 5 levels:
(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.)
- Class 3 - Moderate Impairment. Levels compatible with some, but not all, useful functions.
- Class 4 - Marked Impairment. Levels significantly impede useful functioning.
- Class 5 - Extreme Impairment. Levels preclude useful functioning.
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 of such disorders include: (a) Progressive, uncontrol-lable malignancies (i.e., terminal malignancies or malignancies being treated with aggressive radiation or chemotherapy); (b) Advanced connective
tissue diseases (i.e., advance stages 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.
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.
To qualify for Medical Eligibility:
Complete the appropriate sections of the Medical Certification form that you
get from your transit operator with the RTC Discount Card Application.
Bring the Medical Certification form to your "Certifying Professional".
The Certifying Professional must fully 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 this form has been returned by the certifying professional.
Keep the other copies, and bring them with you when you have your photo taken at your transit agency.
Where do I take my completed Discount ID Card application?
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 510/428-2266
Applications accepted Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
BART (San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District)
800 Madison Street, Oakland, CA 94607 (Lake Merritt BART Station)
510/464-7136, 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)
Certify at samTrans,
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 Tuesday and Thursday, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Golden Gate Transit (Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District)
Golden Gate Transit (San Rafael Transit Center)
850 Tamalpais Ave, San Rafael, CA, 94901
Applications accepted Monday - Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Marin Senior Coordinating Council (Whistlestop Wheels)
930 Tamalpais Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901
Applications accepted Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Muni (San Francisco Municipal Railway/San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency)
27A Van Ness, San Francisco, CA 94102
415.252.3291, TDD 415-701-4730
Applications accepted Monday-Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Rio Vista Delta Breeze (City of Rio Vista)
Phone: 707/374-2878 or TDD 711 through
the California Relay Service
Applications accepted at:
3000 Baumann Road, Rio Vista, CA 94571
(Rio Vista Municipal Airport)
707/374-2878; By appointment only.
Please call to schedule.
177 Main Street, Suisun City, CA 94585
(at the Suisun/Fairfield Amtrak Station)
Application accepted seven days a week
between 9:30 am and 6:30 pm.
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. - 4 p.m.
Santa Rosa City Bus
100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Applications accepted Tuesday, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 p.m., Room 7.
Sonoma County Transit
355 West Robles Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95407
707/576-7433, TDD 707/585-9817 Call for schedule information.
VTA (Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority)
3331 N. 1st St., Bldg. B, San Jose, CA 95134
408/321-2300, TDD 408/321-2330
Applications accepted Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Downtown Customer Service Center
2 North First St., San Jose, CA 95112
Applications accepted Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tri Delta Transit (Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority)
801 Wilbur Avenue, Antioch, CA 94509
925/754-6622 Call for appointment.
Wheels (Livermore/Amador Valley Transit Authority)
1362 Rutan Ct., Suite 100, Livermore, CA 94550
925/455-7555 Call for an appointment.
NOTE: TDD USERS: You can contact any telephone number through the California Relay Service at 711 (voice).
Cardholders can also use the RTC card to travel at a discount fare on:
11 English Street, Petaluma, CA 94952
707/778-4460 Call for schedule and location information.
Fairfield and Suisun Transit (FAST)
707/428-7590 Call for schedule and location information.
Vacaville City Coach
707/449-6000 Call for schedule and location information.
707/255-7631 or 1/800/696-6443 Call for schedule and location information.
Rio Vista Delta Breeze
707/374-2878 Call for schedule and location information.
The purpose of the RTC Discount ID Card Program is to ensure that only eligible individuals receive fare discounts as mandated by state and federal law.
An individual's eligibility is based on their inability to use fixed-route transit (i.e., regular accessible buses, light rail, commuter rail or BART)
without special facilities, planning or design. [49 US § 1608 (c)(4), Section 99206.5, CA PUC]
Local commuter transit operators are not reimbursed for these discounts by state and federal governments.
Questions and Answers about the Program
- Can I pay a discount fare without an RTC Discount ID Card?
- Can I purchase a discount pass for unlimited rides in the month?
- What if I need to travel with an attendant?
- What if I need to travel with a service animal?
- How can I get my Discount ID Card replaced if it is lost or stolen?
- How long is the card valid?
- How do I renew my Discount ID Card?
- I am visiting the Bay Area and have a Discount ID Card from a transit system in another city. Can I get a Regional Transit Connection Discount ID Card?
- What should I do if I have a question, suggestion, complaint or compliment about the Discount ID Card Program?
Q: Can I pay a discount fare without an RTC Discount ID Card?
A: Yes. If you can show a valid form of any of the following, along with a valid photo ID, at the time you board a regular bus or rail vehicle (not paratransit), you may pay a discount fare or use a discount ticket:
- Medicare card (not Medi-Cal)
- Registration for a permanent Disabled Person Parking Placard or License Plate from the California Department of Motor Vehicles
- Transit Discount ID Card issued by another California transit agency which is equivalent to the RTC Discount ID Card
Q: Can I purchase a discount pass for unlimited rides in the month?
A: Some transit agencies have monthly discount passes which can be used in conjunction with your RTC
card for discount monthly fares on that system. Contact your transit agency directly for further information.
Q: What if I need to travel with an attendant?
A: Complete the Medical Certification application form, which allows the professional to note that you need an attendant. An attendant symbol will be placed on your Card and the attendant is eligible for the discount fare while accompanying you. The attendant can pay their fare separately with cash or you can request a second RTC Clipper card that your attendant can use when they are traveling with you. The attendant is not eligible for a discount fare while traveling alone and the attendant will not be issued their own RTC Clipper card unless he or she is also eligible for the RTC discount program. To request an attendant RTC Clipper card, please visit your transit agency’s RTC office and complete an application form.
Q: 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.
Q: How can I get my Discount ID Card replaced if it is lost or stolen?
A: You should inquire at the public transit agency which issued the card to see if the card has been returned. If so,
you may reclaim your old card at no cost. If your lost card has not been returned or you wish to replace a damaged card, request a mail-in
replacement card application be sent to you or go to your nearest transit office to fill one out in person. You may mail in your application
along with the $5.00 fee to the address on the form or bring them in personal to your transit agency. A replacement card will be mailed within
7 - 10 days of receipt of application and fee. Due to the volume of lost cards, we cannot issue a temporary card pending replacement.
Lost Card Application
Q: How long is the card valid?
A: It depends on your disability as determined by your medical professional. Discount ID Cards are valid for a maximum of three years.
However, if your disability is expected to be permanent, you may have a "P" printed on your card. Persons with permanent disabilities renew every 5 years. See "Renewals"
below for additional information on renewing "permanent" cards. Please note that applicants who qualify under a Basic Eligibility category may only be
eligible for the amount of time that the qualifying documents are valid, such as a DMV placard which is valid for a maximum of 2 years.
Q: How do I renew my Discount ID Card?
A: There are two types of renewal:
For Discount ID Cards expiring before June 2001 -
If your card expired before June 2001, you will be required in all cases to complete a new application. This will ensure that the information on file is accurate.
For Discount ID Cards expiring on or after June 2001 -
If you have a permanent disability (indicated by the letter "P" on the card), renewals (for cards expiring on or after June 2001) can be completed by mail.
Contact your transit agency for a renewal application, fill it out completely and return it by mail to the address on the form with the $3 renewal fee. Do not send cash. Other, "non-permanent"
cardholders must complete the application process each time their card expires.
Approximately two months prior to the expiration of your Discount ID Card, a renewal notice will be sent to you explaining what you need to do to renew your card.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that your transit agency has your current mailing address.
Q: I am visiting the Bay Area and have a Discount ID Card from a transit system in another city. Can I get a Regional Transit Connection Discount ID Card?
California Transit Systems: Any person who has a valid transit Discount ID Card from a California transit system outside of the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area is eligible to
receive a courtesy Discount ID Card for the same period of time as that card is valid, or up to three years, whichever is less. After that initial period of time, you may continue to use your valid
ID card from a non-RTC transit system when paying cash fares and receive a discount. However, in order to receive a second RTC Discount ID Card, you will need to submit a complete medical or basic application.
Out-of-State Transit Systems: Persons with a valid out-of-state transit Discount ID Card must show it when submitting the Basic Eligibility application form. You will be issued a
Discount ID Card valid for only three months. Persons visiting for three months or longer must follow the procedure for residents by submitting a medical or basic application.
Q: What should I do if I have a question, suggestion, complaint or compliment about the Discount ID Card Program?
A: First, contact your local transit agency at the numbers listed above. If, after contacting them, you still require assistance, contact the Discount ID Card Program Office at 510/208-0200.