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School Transportation Subsidy Program and DC One Cards

This information is pulled from: ddot.dc.gov/page/school-transit-subsidy-program

photo of an example DC One Card

The School Transit Subsidy Program (STSP) offers free or reduced fares for District students who use Metrobus, Metrorail or the DC Circulator to travel to and from school and school-related activities. This program serves students attending DC public, charter and private schools, as well as students participating in educational programs in the District.

New! Kids Ride Free on Rail Program

Starting August 17, 2015, DC public school and public charter school students are eligible to enroll to receive a free $100 monthly Metrorail benefit to get to and from school and school-related events. In order to receive the $100 Metrorail benefit, students must obtain a DC One Card and register their card on the DC One Card website.

After registering, students must log back into their account on, or after August 17, and check their eligibility to start receiving the benefit. After completing these steps, the $100 rail benefit will automatically load onto students’ DC One Cards on the 15th of each month throughout the school year.

To ride the train, students must tap their DC One Cards at the Metrorail fare gates and the cost of the trip will be deducted from the $100 benefit. Metro will not allow students to flash their DC One Cards to enter the rail system.

For more information about the upcoming Kids Ride Free on Rail program, please download the flyer or read frequently asked questions.

How DC School Students can use their DC One Cards

For any District student to qualify for the School Transit Subsidy Program, he or she must meet the following four qualifications:

  1. Be a resident of the District of Columbia;
  2. Be less than 22 years of age (Note: Age requirement expanded for all students, except for eligible youth in the District’s Foster Care system.);
  3. Be enrolled in an elementary or secondary public, private, charter or parochial school located within the District; or a “ward of DC” through the Foster Care System. (Note, private and parochial students are not eligible for the new Kids Rid Free on Rail program); and
  4. Need to use Metrobus and Metrorail for travel to and from school and to and from related educational activities in the District.

Eligible students may take free or reduced-fare trips by downloading transit passes onto their DC One Cards. There are four types of passes available:

  1. Free bus pass, also known as the “DC Kids Ride Free on Bus” program
    The DC Kids Ride Free on Bus program allows eligible students to ride Metrobus and the DC Circulator without charge, Monday through Friday, from 5:30 am to 9 am and 2 pm to 8 pm, during the regular school year. Students can also ride free when school is dismissed early or for a half-day.Note: Starting on January 2, 2015, District students participating in the “DC Kids Ride Free on Bus” program must download an electronic pass to their DC One Card and tap their card on the farebox reader each time they board the bus, during the designated program hours. Students will no longer be permitted to flash their cards to get a free bus trip in 2015.
  2. Ten-trip bus pass for $7.50
    This pass is valid for 10 Metrobus trips  within the District. This pass is a complement to the free bus pass so that eligible students may get a reduced fare for bus trips taken after 8 pm on weekdays and on the weekends.
  3. Ten-trip rail pass for $9.50
    This pass is valid for 10 Metrorail trips within the District.
  4. A one-month unlimited bus and rail pass for $30
    This pass is valid for one month of unlimited travel on Metrorail and Metrobus within the District.

Eligible students may get a transit pass loaded on to their DC One Cards by following these steps:

  1. Obtain a DC One Card from school or a DC One Card Customer Service Center at Judiciary Square, Deanwood Recreation Center and Library and Wilson Aquatic Center. Get location information.

    -Public school students. Students at public middle schools, high schools and educational campuses may obtain DC One Cards at their schools.

    -Public elementary school students. They may apply for DC One Cards at Customer Service Centers. DC One Cards will be delivered to their schools.

    -Charter school students. Students at charter schools may obtain DC One Cards at their schools.

    -Private school students. Students at private schools may apply for DC One Cards at Customer Service Centers. DC One Cards will be mailed to their homes and students must get their cards activated by their schools’ designated ID Administrators.Note: Minors under age 18 must apply in person with a parent, legal guardian or agent of the state. Parents/Guardians/Agents must present proof of their identity and present one of the following valid and original documents (must include minor’s date of birth) to provide evidence of their relationship to the minor applicant which include:

    -Minor’s Birth Certificate with parent name
    -Adoption Decree with adopting parent name
    -Court Order establishing custody of minor
    -Ward of State Letter for Minors from Government Agencies

  2. Register the DC One Card at www.dconecard.dc.gov
  3. Enroll in the DC Kids Ride Free on Bus program by clicking the “check eligibility” box after receiving a registration email.After registering, the student will receive an email with a link to a new web page. That web page will ask the student to sign back in to the DC One Card website using the email address and password that they created when registering the card.

    Once logged-in, the student will be able to enroll in the School Transit Subsidy program and the DC Kids Ride Free on Bus program by clicking a box called “check eligibility.”

    Note: It takes three business days for your free bus pass to download on to your DC One Card. 

  4. Optional: Purchasing a 10-trip bus pass, 10-trip rail pass, or 30-day bus/rail pass.
    After following the steps above and clicking the “check eligibility” button, the student should click the “launch form” button, which will then open an “eligibility letter” in a new window. With the information from the eligibility letter, a student may purchase a pass in one of two ways:Online.

    Go to wmata.com > Fares > SmarTrip to create a SmarTrip account. A student will need his or her registered DC One Card and a credit/debit card to purchase a pass.

    Note: It takes three business days for your free bus pass to download on to your DC One Card.

    In-person. Take a copy of the eligibility letter and the DC One Card to a Metro-operated sales office at either Metro Headquarters, Metro Center Station, the Northern Bus Garage, or at the Anacostia Station. Get more location information. A student can pay for the pass in cash or with a credit/debit card.