SmarTrip Card News

Paper fare card elimination

I am writing about important changes to the student fare card program.  As you may already know, Metro will stop selling paper fare cards at the end of December 2015.  This includes regular paper fare cards and discounted student paper fare cards, including the $1.90 two-trip rail pass.  Starting in January 2016, Metro will only sell electronic fare media that are loaded onto a SmarTrip card or a DC One Card.  And, starting in early March 2016, Metro will stop accepting paper fare cards altogether.

Students already receive transit benefits electronically if they participate in Kids Ride Free or buy discounted student passes.  Therefore, Metro’s transition to electronic media affects your school if you currently buy paper student fare cards on behalf of certain students.  For example, your school might buy paper versions of the 30-day pass and distribute these to certain students each month.  Going forward, there are four options to continue providing transit benefits for these students:

1.     Enroll in Kids Ride Free programs.  Encourage students to get a DC One Card and enroll in the School Transit Subsidy program online.  See dconecard.dc.gov for more information on how to get a DC One Card and enroll.  By enrolling online, each eligible student will automatically be enrolled in the Kids Ride Free on Bus program.  Public school and public charter school students will also automatically be enrolled in the Kids Ride Free on Rail program.  The Kids Ride Free programs provide a significant level of transit benefits, so you will likely not need to purchase any student passes going forward.  See kidsridefree.dc.gov for more information on these programs.

2.     Purchase student transit passes electronically.  If the Kids Ride Free programs do not provide enough of a transit benefit for certain students, you can continue to buy electronic versions of the student passes for these students by setting-up an online account with Metro.  You can then purchase the electronic student passes and load them on to a student’s DC One Card.

3.     Purchase pre-loaded SmarTrip cards.  If you have a student population that does not yet have a DC One Card or has not enrolled in Kids Ride Free programs, you may purchase preloaded SmarTrip cards directly from Metro or set-up an account to automatically load a predetermined amount to a student’s card each month.  Each SmarTrip card costs $2.00.

4.     Purchase bus tokens.  If you have a student population that does not yet have a DC One Card or has not enrolled in Kids Ride Free programs, you may continue to buy student bus tokens through DDOT and adult tokens directly from Metro.

To be clear, Metro will stop selling the $1.90 two-trip rail pass altogether at the end of December 2015.  Some refer to this as the “green pass” and it is often used by schools for field trips.  Going forward, I recommend that you encourage your students to enroll in the Kids Ride Free programs, purchase bus tokens through DDOT, or purchase SmarTrip cards from Metro.

If you have any questions, please contact the School Transit Program office at the District Department of Transportation: (202) 673-1740.

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