Story at a Glance
DDOT is making changes to the School Transit Subsidy Program through a new process where students will be able to use their DC One Card to enroll online and purchases/renew their passes at Metrorail stations.
“These changes will benefit students and their parents They are designed to make the program easier to use and to reduce the amount of leg work and time it takes to get a transit pass.”
— Mayor Vincent C. Gray
(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is making changes to the School Transit Subsidy Program – a program that provides reduced fares for District students who use Metrobus or Metrorail to travel to and from school. The changes will apply to K through 12 schools and will be implemented in phases to schools starting this fall.
“These changes will benefit students and their parents,” said Mayor Gray. “They are designed to make the program easier to use and to reduce the amount of leg work and time it takes to get a transit pass. Students will be able to enroll online, recover lost passes and renew their passes at any Metrorail station.”
Working closely together, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) and DDOT integrated SmarTrip technology into the program and successfully implemented the new process as a pilot program at the School Without Walls this past spring.
Previously, students were required to get an application from their school, then take it to DDOT’s School Transit Subsidy Office, and complete the process at one of Metro’s sales offices.
Eligible students will now purchase passes on their DC One Card in order to receive the discounted fare, and will only have to visit the Metro Sales Office once every school year, provided they don’t let their pass expire. The DC One Card is a single identification card that gives students access to DC government programs and facilities, recreation centers, libraries and the Metro. DCPS students in grades 6 through 12 will automatically receive a DC One Card at school. Other students can obtain their card from one of the DC One Card Customer Service Centers.
Starting August 16, the first phase will apply to the following high schools: Ballou, Banneker, Cardozo, McKinley, School Without Walls and Wilson. To find out when the change will apply to a school, visit: ddot.dc.gov/schooltransitsubsidy.
Once the change applies to a school students will be able to access the School Transit Subsidy Program by following these simple steps:
- Apply Online
- Activate Card and Purchase Passes
- After applying online students will receive a Student Transit Subsidy Eligibility Letter which they must print and take along with their DC One Card ID to one of the following Metro sales offices to activate the card and purchase the fare media: Metro Headquarters, Metro Center, Anacostia Metro or Northern Bus Garage.
- Activate the card at a Metrorail station Passes & Farecards machine by tapping the DC One Card and pressing “Cancel Transaction.” By activating the card it will be upgraded and enabled to accept the student pass. The card only needs to be activated once.
- To purchase passes, show the DC One Card and eligibility letter to the sales clerk at a Metro sales office. There are three types of passes available: unlimited monthly, 10 rail rides or 10 bus rides. After paying the sales clerk the pass will be added to the DC One Card. After payment, students can begin using their DC One Card aboard Metrorail and Metrobus.
- Register Card
- Students are encouraged to register their DC One Card. By doing so a credit can be obtained for a lost or stolen pass. The credit is for an unused portion of a pass. For a monthly pass, students receive a prorated credit from the day they report the card lost or stolen. Students will get a credit for $30 minus the number of days in the month already passed. (e.g. report stolen on the 12th, get $18 credit.)
- Register the card at smartrip.com..
- Renew the Pass
- Future monthly passes can be renewed by going to any Metrorail station before the end of the month.
- Use the Passes & Farecards machines in any Metro station and pay to load your discounted monthly pass onto your card.
- Renew the pass before the end of the month. Otherwise, you will be required to print out the Eligibility Letter again and return to the Metro sales office to buy a pass.
- To purchase 10-trip passes or renew an expired monthly pass, print out and bring the Eligibility Letter to the sales office each time.
The changes will be phased in at all District schools over the next year. Until the changes apply to a school, all transit subsidy application paperwork and cards will be handled directly at the school level. Schools will be collecting the applications and submitting them directly to DDOT to expedite the processing procedure. The school transit subsidy program offices located at the Reeves Center will no longer be accepting those applications that are brought in-person for processing (the DDOT school transit offices at the Reeves Center will be closing permanently on September 6).
School Transit Subsidy Program Qualifications
District law mandates that in order for students to receive discounted travel on Metrobus and Metrorail they must meet all of the following qualifications:
- Under 19 years of age with the exception of students with disabilities who are eligible until 22 years of age;
- Resident of the District; and
- Enrolled in an elementary or secondary public, charter, private or parochial school that is located in the District of Columbia.
- If students are in an internship program during the summer, the internship program must be non-paid. Students being paid to work do not qualify for summer travel subsidies.
For more information about the School Transit Subsidy Program, please call (202) 673-1740 or visit: ddot.dc.gov/schooltransitsubsidy.