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School Transit Subsidy Program

Photo of a sample DC One Card

The School Transit Subsidy Program offers free or reduced fares for District students who use Metrobus, the DC Circulator, or Metrorail to travel to and from school and school-related activities.  The program is available to students enrolled in DC public, public charter, and private schools.  The program relies on an electronic pass that is loaded onto a student’s DC One Card.

Kids Ride Free

The Kids Ride Free program allows students to ride for free on Metrobus, the DC Circulator, and Metrorail within the District to get to school and school-related activities.  The program uses an electronic Kids Ride Free pass that is loaded onto students’ DC One Cards.  Students must be under 22 years old and live in the District to be eligible. To obtain the Kids Ride Free pass, students need to be enrolled in a DC public school, public charter school, or a private school and have their current DC One Card.                                                    

Please note that private school students are eligible for the free bus benefit, but are not eligible for the free rail benefit.

April 2017 Advisory: Beginning Monday, May 1, Metro will be increasing police enforcement to ensure all riders have valid fare media with appropriate fare for their Metrorail and Metrobus trips. For students using the Metro system, this means:

  1. You must have either a working DC One card loaded with the Kids Ride Free pass* or a SmarTrip card to enter the Metrorail system or board a Metrobus; and
  2. You must tap your DC One Card or SmarTrip card on the fare gate or farebox. Without tapping a working card, you can expect to be denied boarding on Metrobus or entry on Metrorail as Metro begins to lock swing gates throughout the system.

* Private and parochial students must have a 30-day ride pass or SmarTrip card.

If you have questions or need help with your DC One Card, please contact DDOT staff at (202) 673-1740.

To ensure that the KRF-Pass is successfully loaded, take the following steps:

Instructions for Loading and Checking Your Pass Status

  1. Tap your DC One Card on a fare vending machine found in any Metrorail station.  If there is a negative balance, bring it up to $0. 
  2. After at least six hours, or the next day, tap your DC One Card again on a fare vending machine at the same Metrorail station to activate your KRF-Pass. 
  3. Check with the station manager to see if the KRF-Pass has been successfully loaded or log-in to your account at dconecard.dc.gov to check the status of your KRF-Pass. This activity can be done on the weekends to ensure the KRF-Pass is ready to use for school on Mondays.

Loading the KRF-Pass at a Metrorail station reduces the amount of time to load the pass and allows you to verify the pass has loaded without the risk of incurring a negative fare balance. You can also load the KFR-Pass on a Metrobus farebox by following these instructions:

Instructions for Loading Your Pass on Metrobus

  1. Tap the card on Metrobus farebox (may require more than one tap daily).
  2. Allow 3-5 business days for the pass to load to the card. Until the pass has loaded, the card may incur a negative balance and students should add stored value on their DC One Card to ride Metrobus, Metrorail, or DC Circulator. If a student has a negative card balance, that balance must be paid off for the free pass to work.

Important changes to the program for the 2016-2017 school year

1.     Metrobus hours.  We have removed the time-of-day and day-of-week restrictions on bus travel.  Students will be able to take a free bus trip all day, every day to get to school and school-related activities within the District. 

2.     Signing-up for Kids Ride Free.  We no longer require students to sign-up for the program online.  Instead, the electronic Kids Ride Free pass will be issued to all eligible students who are enrolled in school and have a DC One Card. Note: This new process does not apply to private school students. Private school students must sign-up to get the Kids Ride Free on Bus pass at dconecard.dc.gov.

3.     Website.  We upgraded the dconecard.dc.gov website to allow students to check the status of their Kids Ride Free pass as well as their stored value balance.

Tips for picking-up the Kids Ride Free pass

Two weeks before school starts:

  • Enroll in school.  Students should make sure that they are enrolled in a DC public school or a public charter school.
  • Find your DC One Card.  
  • Students should make sure to use their current DC One Cards.  If they don’t have a DC One Card, they can get one at a DC One Card center or at their school. See dconecard.dc.gov for center locations.
  • Check your balance.  Students should pay off any negative fare balances on their DC One Card.  You can check your balance by tapping your Card on a fare vending machine at a rail station. A negative fare balance blocks the KRF-Pass from downloading.

The weekend or day before the start of school:       

  • Tap your DC One Card.  Students should tap their DC One Card on a bus fare box or a rail fare gate within the District of Columbia to activate the Kids Ride Free pass and take a free trip.

Students who have a DC One Card and are enrolled in school will be able to travel for free starting August 2017 to reflect the early start date for some schools. 

This flyer and these frequently asked questions and FAQs in Spanish explain the changes in greater detail.  DDOT’s customer service staff are available at (202) 673-1740 to answer any questions.

Discounted Student Transit Passes

Students may also purchase the following discounted student transit passes at a Metro Sales office or online at wmata.com:

  • 30-day pass for $30
  • 10-trip bus pass for $7.50 - Note: 10-trip bus pass will no longer be sold after Sunday, June 25, 2017
  • 10-trip rail for $9.50 - Note: 10-trip rail pass will no longer be sold after Sunday, June 25, 2017

These passes are electronically loaded onto students’ DC One Cards after signing-up for the program at dconecard.dc.gov.  Students must be under 22 years old, live in the District and be enrolled at a District school to be eligible.

Contact Us
For additional information about the School Transit Subsidy Program, please find more details below or call (202) 673-1740.