Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ Topics

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General Connect Card Questions

New Equipment/Changes

Getting a Connect Card

Registering your Connect Card

Using your Connect Card

Loading Transit Fare onto your Connect Card

Discount Fare and Transit Benefits

Caring for your Connect Card

Reporting Connect Card Lost/Stolen

Autoload Program

Privacy Questions

Other Questions

All Questions

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General Connect Card Questions

What is the Connect Card?

Connect Card is the Sacramento region's new transit smart card fare collection system. It provides a convenient and secure way to pay your fare. The system uses a plastic smart card called a Connect Card with a computer chip inside that can store cash value, passes and discount fares.
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Which transit agencies are moving to the Connect Card?

Participating agencies include Regional Transit, e-tran, El Dorado Transit, Folsom Stage Line, Placer County Transit, Roseville Transit, South County Transit Link, Yolobus, and Yuba-Sutter Transit.
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Why is the Sacramento region transitioning to a smart card system?

The region is transitioning to a smart card system to provide easier travel throughout the Sacramento region. Now you can travel from Yuba City to Elk Grove and Woodland to Placerville using a single transit card. By allowing customers to travel across nine transit systems using just one card, the Connect Card will help us achieve a key regional goal: to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible while improving service to transit customers.
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How will the Connect Card system benefit riders?

The Connect Card provides you with a number of tools to make riding transit more convenient and easier, including:

  • Online Account Management: When you register your Connect Card, you can set up an online account to manage your card or multiple cards for your whole family - all from the comfort of your home! Load transit fare, check your balance, view your transaction history, and- best of all- set up Autoload so you never have to worry about being without transit fare.
  • More Convenience: The Connect Card stores passes, cash value and discount fare (for qualified customers onboard applicable agencies' vehicles) removing the need to worry about flimsy paper passes or carrying exact change.
  • Added Security: In case of loss or theft, a registered Connect Card can be replaced and your valid Cash Value and pass(es) transferred to a replacement Connect Card.
  • One Card to Ride Them All You can travel throughout the region aboard the nine participating transit agencies using just one smart card.
  • More Ways to Pay: You have a number of new places to get and load your Connect Card, including online, at retail outlets, and at participating transit agencies.

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New Equipment/Changes

What new equipment will I see?

Connect Card Readers are installed on all buses of all participating agencies and at all Regional Transit light rail stations. Once retail locations are on-board (like at Raley's and Bel Air), you'll notice new little sales machines that customer service representatives use to load fare onto your Connect Card. For more information, you can check out how it works here!

What other changes will I see?

  • You will be able to ride on nine transit agencies in the region using just one Connect Card!
  • No more waiting in line while customers count change or search for their ID, now everyone with a Connect Card can just tap and go!
  • Riders that receive discount fare no longer need to find their separate photo ID—the photo ID printed on the back of a new Connect Card makes it easy for you to Tap On as you board the bus and show your Connect Card to the bus operator.
  • Most customers will use Connect Cards to pay their transit fare, but existing paper passes and tickets will continue to be accepted for a limited time, as applicable per agency.


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What will stay the same?

  • All existing fare types are available with the Connect Card. A daily pass can be purchased using Cash Value on your Connect Card, and is still valid on Regional Transit, e-tran, Folsom Stage Lines, and Yolobus. Monthly passes are still available for unlimited use on the proper system, during the valid month.
  • The Connect Card works like paper passes, but you just Tap On—by tapping your Connect Card on the yellow target located below the screen on the Card Reader—to pay your fare, instead of showing your pass to the operator.
  • Qualified discount riders (including seniors, youth/students, and individuals with disabilities) still receive discounted fare—it will just now be loaded onto a Connect Card with a Photo ID.
  • Other forms of ID for discounted fare will be accepted consistent with the individual transit agency’s policies.
  • Customers will always be able to pay with cash.


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Getting a Connect Card

Where can I get a Connect Card?

  • You can get a Connect Card by completing the Get a Card process on the homepage. You will be asked to create an account, select and pay for transit fare to load onto your card, and then your registered Connect Card will be mailed to you. You may also visit a Sales Outlet or Customer Service Center.


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Why should I get a Connect Card?

A registered Connect Card provides you with easy online account management, added security with our free balance protection, more ways to pay for transit fare, and one card to ride nine participating transits. The Connect Card offers you the easy way to pay!
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Does everybody have to use a Connect Card?

Most customers will use the Connect Card to pay their transit fare immediately, though individuals with discounts through their employer or school may take a little while longer to transition to the new smart card. Following a grace period, passes will only be available on the Connect Card, as applicable to individual agencies. Customers will always be able to pay with cash on the bus or at light rail stations.
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Do I have to pay for my Connect Card?

Getting a Connect Card during initial rollout is free when you load a pass or Cash Value—the transit fare will simply be loaded onto your Connect Card. Replacement Discount cards will also be free for a limited time. When the rollout period ends there will be a $5 fee for new or replacement cards.
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What do I do if I get a discount/have a discount card with photo ID?

If you are a qualified senior, youth, or individual with disabilities*, you can go to your primary participating transit agency service center and exchange your current transit-issued photo ID for a Connect Card with a Photo ID (printed on one side). The Connect Card with your name and photo will serve as verification to ride at the discounted rate. More information is available here.

*Other applicable discounts may apply (e.g. Disabled Attendant).

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Does the Connect Card expire?

Yes, if you have a special temporary discount fare, an expiration date will be printed on your card. Young children with photo IDs may also need to renew their cards for a new photo ID.


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What do I do with old transit fare?

Customers with valid paper passes and tickets should first utilize the paper transit fare prior to utilizing electronic fare. You must use your paper transit fare prior to the printed expiration date.


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Registering your Connect Card

What happens when I register my Connect Card?

When you register a card, you create an online account and link your unique Connect Card. Registering your card protects your Connect Card balance in the event that it is lost or stolen. It enables your lost/stolen Connect Card to be deactivated and the balance to be transferred to a new Connect Card. Balance Protection is free, but you must register your Connect Card to be eligible.
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How do I register my Connect Card?

To register your Connect Card you need to create an account and link a Connect Card to your account. If you have already received a Connect Card and want to register it, go to the homepage and select the Register your card link. If you do not yet have a Connect Card, go to the homepage and select the Get a card link to create an account, load transit fare, and have your registered Connect Card mailed to you. You can also call 916-321-2877 or visit a participating transit agency Customer Service Center.
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Does registration cost anything?

No way! It is a free service and it saves you time and money.
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What are the benefits of registering my Connect Card?

By registering your Connect Card, you will be able to do all of the following online:

  • Manage your account
  • Load transit fare
  • Set up Autoload
  • View your transaction history
  • Check your card balance
  • Deactivate lost or stolen card and request replacement


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Is registering my Connect Card mandatory?

No. However, it is highly recommended. The balance (pass and Cash Value) of an unregistered Connect Card cannot be replaced if it is lost or stolen. An unregistered Connect Card also cannot be managed online or have Autoload set up.
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Why do you need my Birthplace?

Your response to the “Birthplace” field when Creating an Account will serve as extra security in the event you need to talk with Customer Service. It will verify that the person reporting your card as lost or stolen is truly you.
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Using your Connect Card

How can I be sure that there is value on my card? How can I check my balance?

There are a number of ways you can check your balance on your Connect Card.

  • You can check your balance by using the Check Balance feature on the homepage utilizing your Connect Card Number and Security Code (located on the back of the Connect Card, bottom right hand corner).
  • On the bus, your remaining card balance will flash on the reader screen each time you tap your card.
  • At light rail stations, go to any Connect Card Light Rail Target Reader and push the “card info” button. Hold your Connect Card against the yellow target and your balance will show on the screen. (TIP: as long as you hold your card on the yellow target you will be able to read your Balance)
  • You can call the Connect Card Service Center at 916-321-2877 and provide your Connect Card Number and Security Code (located on the back of your Connect Card, bottom right hand corner).


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How does the Connect Card work?

All participating transit agencies' rules and existing transit fare policies still apply to the Connect Card, unless otherwise stated by the agency. You simply load a pass or Cash Value onto your Connect Card instead of buying paper passes or needing to carry exact change.

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How do I pay my fare? What does it mean to "tap" my card?

When you board the bus you "tap" your Connect Card on the yellow target below the screen of the Bus Connect Card Reader instead of showing a pass or giving fare to an operator. If you're riding light rail, you need to "tap" your Connect Card on the yellow target below the screen of the Light Rail Connect Card Reader located at all light rail stations BEFORE boarding the train. For both bus and light rail, your transit fare will be deducted from Cash Value, or your Pass will be verified. A green or yellow screen and a light beep will indicate that your Connect Card has been accepted. Failure to validate your Connect Card may result in a fine or inability to board.
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Do I have to tap even if I have a Monthly Pass or Pass loaded to my Connect Card?

Yes, even if you have a day or monthly pass, you still need to tap every time you board. With Connect Card, your tap is proof of payment
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How does a fare inspector validate my Connect Card on Light Rail?

The fare inspector will use a mobile device to validate whether you tapped for your current Light Rail trip.
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How do I use Cash Value? Can I use Cash Value to purchase a monthly pass?

Cash Value is accepted by all participating agencies and can be used to pay for a single ride, a daily pass, and for an additional rider (as applicable by agency). You cannot use cash value to purchase a monthly pass


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How do I use RT's daily best fare?

Connect Card users on RT will no longer have to purchase Daily Passes up front. Riders can now tap on bus or train validators for each ride and the appropriate single-ride fare will be deducted from the card’s cash value. The total amount of money withdrawn from the card will be a daily maximum equal to the cost of a day pass.


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How do I buy a daily pass?

You can pay for a daily pass using your Cash Value balance.

  • To load a daily pass onto your Connect Card, simply ask the bus operator when boarding. Tap your card onto the yellow target when directed by the operator.
  • You can also use the Light Rail Connect Card Reader to pay for the daily pass out of your Cash Value balance. Select the daily pass button, and tap your Connect Card on the yellow target located below the screen. Be sure to also Tap On prior to boarding light rail.


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What do the lights on the card readers mean?

  • If you have a standard Connect Card, the screen will turn green and you will hear a beep when you pay your fare.
  • If you have a Discount Connect Card, the screen will turn yellow and you will hear a beep when you pay your fare.
  • If you see a red screen and hear a harsh tone, you either did not Tap On correctly, you don’t have sufficient transit fare, or your card has been deactivated or damaged.
  • Call the Connect Card Service Center at 916-321-2877 if you need assistance.


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What do I do if I ride two systems? How do transfers work with the Connect Card?

All existing fare structures and transfer agreements between participating transit agencies are already programmed in the Connect Card’s system. Just as some paper passes are accepted by multiple transit agencies (e.g. an RT Monthly Pass can be used on Yolobus), and regular transit passes can be upgraded (e.g. RT + El Dorado Commuter Joint Monthly Pass), the Connect Card will recognize and validate multi-agency passes loaded onto the Connect Card.


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Loading Transit Fare onto your Connect Card

Where can I load my card?

Passes and Cash Value can be loaded onto both standard and discounted Connect Cards at multiple locations:

  • ConnectTransitCard.com (for registered cards only). Note that Transit fare added online may take up to 48 hours to appear on your Connect Card. If you have loaded transit fare online and the status says "Pending" - your fare will be loaded to your card the next time you tap.
  • At participating transit agencies' Customer Service Centers.


To ensure that you always have a pass or cash value, sign up for Autoload.
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How do I get a receipt when I make a payment online?

All registered account holders will receive an automated email receipt when your payment is processed. If you did not receive a receipt or need a copy from a purchase made online, please email softlaunch@connecttransitcard.com
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Discount Fare and Transit Benefits

What do I do if I get a discount/have a discount card with photo ID?

If you are eligible to receive a discount as a senior, student, or person with disabilities, you must visit a participating transit agency to get a new Photo ID printed on a Connect Card. This serves as verification to ride at the discounted rate. More information is available here. Once you have your specially-encoded Discount Connect Card, you may load discounted transit fare online, at Add-Fare Machines, and at participating transit agencies.
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What do I do if I get transit benefits?

The Connect Card team is or will be working with your employer to provide you with your own specially encoded Connect Card and instructions on how to use it. You and/or your employer will be able to load your transit fare onto the Connect Card instead of handling paper tickets or passes. This new system makes managing transit fare more efficient, reduces paper, and minimizes cash handling.
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How will my employer and I pay for my transit fare?

The Connect Card is designed to allow employers and employees a variety of methods to share payment of transit fare, using an online management system. Depending on your employer’s policies, you may continue to pay your employer directly for your portion of the transit fare and the employer will load your transit fare for you, or you may load discounted fare directly onto your Connect Card online and your employer will pay the transit agencies separately.

  • Pre-Paid Transit Debit Card – follow the website instructions and load fare using your debit card online or visit the RT Customer Service and Sales Center.
  • Paper Check or Voucher – follow the instructions for the RT Customer Service and Sales Center to load fare to your card using your paper check or voucher.
  • Reimbursement – You can load fare using the website, at the RT Customer Service and Sales Center where you will receive a receipt for the transaction.
  • Directly from Employer – Only select employers are participating in the soft launch but more will be coming soon!


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What happens if I leave my place of employment?

A Connect Card shared between an employee and an employer can be restored to a Standard Connect Card if you leave your place of employment. The employer simply turns off the sharing functionality using their online management system, and the Connect Card becomes your sole property.
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Caring for your Connect Card

Are there any special precautions I need to take with my Connect Card?

Yes. Your Connect Card has delicate components that can become damaged if not properly handled. Here are some tips to keep your Connect Card in good condition.

  • Keep it in a safe place like your wallet to help ensure that it doesn’t become bent or scratched or accidentally go through the wash.
  • Do not punch a hole in it to put it on a lanyard or key chain.

Cards visibly damaged will be charged for replacement. Your Connect Card can last for years – please take care of it!
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Can my Connect Card get demagnetized?

No – your Connect Card does not contain magnetic material.
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If I keep my Connect Card next to another smart card, will it still work?

Keeping smart cards next to each other will not damage the cards. However, Connect Card readers may not be able to read your card when it’s next to another smart card. If this happens, simply separate your Connect Card from the other card and tap it on the reader.
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Reporting Connect Card Lost/Stolen

I lost my card/my card was stolen, what do I do?

The minute you discover your card missing, call 916-321-2877 (during business hours) or login to your account to block the card and request a replacement card. If you registered your Connect Card, we will deactivate your old Connect Card and issue you a replacement card with the remaining balance. If you did not register your Connect Card, there is nothing we can do. You can get a new Connect Card online or at a participating transit agency.
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How long will found Connect Card's be held?

Unregistered Connect Cards found and returned to a member transit operator will be held for 30 days. After a 30 day period the member operator will dispose of the card.
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Autoload Program

What is the Autoload program?

The Autoload program sets up your Connect Card to be automatically loaded when your balance falls below a certain level (you choose) or your pass is ready to expire. You need to have a registered Connect Card and a stored Payment Option (credit/debit card) to participate in Autoload. More information is available here.
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Privacy Questions

What happens to my information?

Your personal information is kept secure. Your credit/debit card information is managed through a secure third party and not by any of the transit operators. All Tap On information is collected in an aggregate and anonymous manner for planning purposes only. See the Privacy Policy for more details.
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How are you protecting my personal information?

The privacy of your personal information is top priority. Your information and passwords will be encrypted, will not be shared, and all financial information is kept secure through a certified third party.
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Other Questions

Why is it called Connect Card?

Connect Card is the perfect name for the new system because it represents the region’s goal: To make it easier for customers to connect to the things that are important in their lives — family, friends, work, school, medical care, shopping, entertainment and more — across the Sacramento region!
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How did the region pay for the Connect Card system?

The region paid for the card system using available federal and state funds. The process has been and is currently managed by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), a regional planning agency, in coordination with all nine participating transit agencies.
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