RFTA taking punch out of bogus pass production | AspenTimes.com

RFTA taking punch out of bogus pass production

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Roaring Fork Transportation Authority punch passes are about to get more difficult to replicate for anyone who might be tempted to produce a bogus pass.

Starting Monday, RFTA will begin replacing its 20- and 40-punch passes with new, embossed versions. The old passes will no longer be accepted by drivers starting Sept. 15. RFTA riders can either use up their old-style passes by that date or exchange them for the new ones at no additional cost.

Coincidentally, RFTA fares will go up, effective Sept. 7, but the switch to new punch passes is unrelated to the fare hike, said RFTA CEO Dan Blankenship. Still, he conceded tough economic times might entice someone into attempting to counterfeit the punch passes. The embossed passes will be more difficult to reproduce and make it easier for drivers to identify a legit pass from a bogus one.

“What we’ve been using up until now, given the technical capabilities of copiers and printers these days, is pretty easy to reproduce,” Blankenship said.

Police have made at least one arrest for use of a bogus pass recently, and RFTA has been watching more closely for counterfeit punch passes. Now, for example, when a pass has no more punches left on it, drivers are holding onto them so they can be examined later.

“We don’t really know how widespread the problem is,” Blankenship said. “We definitely have heightened our awareness of the possibility.”

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So far, RFTA has recovered only a few fake passes, he said.

Riders can exchange old passes for the new versions at the following locations and dates:

• Rubey Park bus station in Aspen on Monday from noon to 7 p.m. and Tuesday, Aug. 25, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Aspen’s bus maintenance facility, 51 Service Center Road, on Tuesday, Aug. 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Carbondale Recreation Center on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Glenwood Springs Resort Chamber office on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

After Aug. 23, punch pass holders can trade in their passes at Rubey Park or the bus maintenance facility. Passes may also be exchanged through the mail; send the old one to Dina Farnell, 51 Service Center Drive, Aspen, CO 81611.

There will be no change to zone and monthly picture passes.

Starting Sept. 7, cash fares will increase by $1 per zone. The cost of 20- and 40-punch passes will remain the same, but drivers will be taking an extra punch on the cards. The ride between Aspen and Basalt, for example, will cost four punches rather than the current three punches.

janet@aspentimes.com

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