Management & Operations

D.C. transit caters to students

Posted on April 1, 2001

A new pass that allows students to ride the Metrobus and Metrorail to get to school has been introduced in the nation’s capital. The Smartstudent Pass costs $20 per month and is good for unlimited rides on D.C.’s bus and rail lines to school and school-related activities. About 20,000 students rely on public transportation to get to and from school, according to D.C. Mass Transit. Traditional yellow school bus service is available only to special-education students. A combination of parental concern over costs and the labor-intensive paperwork associated with student use of tokens, tickets and farecards spurred the creation of the Smartstudent Pass, said D.C. Mass Transit Spokesman Douglas Stallworth. Previously, students had to purchase Metrobus tokens or Metrorail farecards in two-week increments at an average price of 55 cents a ride. The tokens did not allow weekend use. In comparison, the more streamlined Smartstudent Pass is bought only once a month for unlimited use, including weekends. Students simply flash the pass to Metrobus drivers or insert it into Metrorail fare gates for access. Students must be under 19 years of age (special-education students under 23) and reside in and attend school in D.C. to be eligible. Sales of the pass have been brisk, Stallworth said, with more than 500 passes in use during the first few days of availability in January. “A lot of the parents are saying, ‘This is the best thing,’” said Stallworth.

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