RTC Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for this reduced fare program?

Persons who are eligible for the Regional Transit Connection (RTC) Discount Card include the following:

Persons with disabilities who have a transit dysfunction. A person has a transit dysfunction if they are, in the words of Federal and State law, "unable without special facilities or special planning or design to utilize public transportation facilities and services effectively." [49 USC 1608 (c)(4), Section 99206.5, CA PUC] If your disability meets this definition and a licensed professional can so certify, you are eligible for the program. Your licensed professional will determine how long your card is valid up to a maximum of five years.

Any veteran who holds a disability rating for aid and attendance, or a service-connected disability with a rating level of 50 percent or higher. The discount card will be valid for five years.

Holders of a DMV placard identification card computer print-out or holders of a valid registration for a permanent disabled license plate (computer printout). The discount placard identification card computer print-out renews every two years.

Medicare card holders are eligible for a discount card with no additional certification when they present their card and photo identification. The discount card will be valid for two years.

The RTC Program no longer issues cards to seniors.  The Senior Clipper Card offers the same features and discounts.  You can obtain a Senior Clipper card at your local transit agency.  The card is free and does not expire.

How do I obtain a Regional Transit Connection Discount card for the first time?

The procedure is as follows:

  • Medicare card holders, DMV placard identification (computer printout) holders, qualifying disabled veterans, visitors and persons with valid transit discount cards from any California transit agency are to complete a Basic Eligibility Form and bring it your neares transit agency with a valid photo identification card. 
  • All other applicants are to complete a Medical Certficate Form. You must request a Medical Certificate Form by phone at any transit agencies and the Medical Certificate Form will be mailed to you. Applicants is to complete sections 1 - 3 and have Sectrion 4 to be completed by the following California licensed professionals for the disabilities indicated: a physician having an M.D. or D.O. degree, or a nurse practitioner (for all disabilities); a chiropractor (for disabilities under Sections 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5); a podiatrist (for disabilities involving the feet under Sections 1, 2, 3 and ); an optometrist (for disabilities under Section 9); an audiologist (for disabilities under Section 10); or a clinical psychologist (for disabilities under Section 17). Take this brochure to your physician or other appropriate certifying professional. She or he must sign the Applicant Certification Form and provide her/his license number for it to be accepted as valid.
  • Section 4 is an authorization form which allows the release of medical information by the licensed professional who is certifying your eligibility for the discount card. The release of information is restricted to that described on the Medical Certificate Form. The Medical Certificate Form is to remain on file with the certifying professional.
  • Bring in either the completed Basic Eligibility Form or Medical Certificate From along with a valid indentification card to the nearest transit agency office. You must come in person on days and times designated by your transit agency. A photograph of you will be taken as part of the discount card. Processing fee for a new RTC card is $3.00.
  • Once you have received a discount card, you are immediately eligible for a discount fare on all participating public transit systems. No additional proof of eligibility is required. You are required to show the discount card to operating personnel when paying the fare or upon entry or exit from the station paid area.
  • This discount card must be surrendered upon expiration. The fee for renewal on or prior to its expiration date is $3.00.

What happens if my discount card is lost, or damaged, or stolen?

If lost, or damaged, or stolen, you can either download the Lost/Replacement Application form and mail the complete signed form or you may go to your nearest transit office who can assist you filling out the Lost/Replacement Application form. There is a $5.00 processing fee and you will receive a replacement card within 7-10 business days.

What should I do if I need to travel with an attendant or service animal?

  • 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.
  • 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.


How long is the card valid?

Discount cards are issued for the expected duration of your disability, up to a maximum of five years.

If I have a RTC discount card, and it is going to expire, do I have to be recertified to get a new card?

All RTC card holders, except Medicare card holders, DMV placard identification holders, or qualified disabled veterans must be recertified to receive a new card. If you have been previously been certified as permanently disabled and and the record of this information can be confirmed will also not need to be recertified. However, information may not be available about permanent eligibility after the card has expired. Please renew the permanent card before the expiration date indicated on the card. Applicants who do not need to be recertified can renew by filling out Part A of the application form and presenting some form of photo ID to receive a new card, valid for three years. Individuals whose certification has been confirmed to be permanent will have the letter "P" stamped on the card.

I am just visiting the Bay Area and have a discount card from a transit operator in another city. Can I get a Regional Transit Connection discount card?

Yes, any person who holds a valid transit discount card from any California transit operator is eligible to receive an RTC Discount Card for the same period of time as that card is valid or three years, whichever is less. Persons with valid out-of-state transit discount cards must show the card from their transit agency to personnel issuing Regional Transit Connection discount cards and Complete Part A of the Applicant Certification Form. You will be issued a temporary discount card valid for three months. Temporary cards cost $3.00. Persons visiting the Bay Area from out of state for three months or longer will be required to follow the procedure established for residents.

Are veterans eligible for the discount card?

If you are a veteran who holds a disability rating for aid and attendance or a service connected disability with a rating level of 50 percent or higher, you must complete Basic Eligibility Form,  Sections 1 and Section 2, including your VA file number. Bring in a copy of your Service Connected Disability I.D. Card and your VA Certification when submitting the Basic Eligibility Form. All other veterans who do not have a credential listed in the note on page 4 are subject to the Eligibility Criteria listed in the Guide to Eligibility Criteria and must complete the entire Medical Certification Form.