Everyone likes mass transit and thinks it should be used more by other people so as to make their movement, by POV (privately owned vehicle) easier. It's been noted that 95% of transport is by POV because public transit is slow, dangerous, and over priced. Drew Willsey has an idea to address the overpriced part: pay the riders.
This would add to the cost of keeping and maintaining the RTD, but since fares contribute very little to the costs, making them a payment to the riders wouldn't change things much. That is until you actually change the dynamic of riding transit. I'm retired so I don't regularly go anywhere. Thus if I decide to go downtown for some reason, the $2.60 for a day pass seems reasonable, especially in light of the car-hostile nature of downtown with respect to parking.
If I had to go to work there, I might need more incentive. After all, the 1 hour ride each way 5 days a week, is a significant chunk out of my life that I could be using for something else. Pay me $1 every time I get aboard, and I've got a start toward entertaining the family on the weekend.
RTDs operating budget is what it is and tripling demand for services will necessarily triple the budget. They get their money from a dedicated tax plus 50% of auto license fees right now and I don't see the taxpayers voting a big tax increase to cover this. If they quit trying to build a railroad empire, costs would also drop significantly but I'm having a hard time seeing the upper management giving up the prestige of being rail barons either.