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Adult Learner Transit Subsidy Program FAQs

About the Adult Learner Transit Subsidy Program


What is the Adult Learner Transit Subsidy program and how does it work?

The Adult Learner Transit Subsidy program provides eligible adult learners with a $70 monthly transit benefit that can be used on Metrorail, Metro bus, and the DC Circulator bus anywhere within the District of Columbia. The subsidy amount will be disbursed to enrolled SmarTrip cards for eligible adult learners at the beginning of each month.

What are the eligibility requirements for participation in Adult Learner Transit Subsidy program?

There are four eligibility requirements, and students must meet all four requirements. Each student must be:

  • Age 18 or older, and
  • A resident of the District of Columbia, and
  • Actively enrolled in one of the OSSE-Approved Adult Learner Transit Subsidy Programs, and
  • Ineligible for the Kids Ride Free program

When and where can the Adult Learner Transit Subsidy benefit be used?

The Adult Learner Transit Subsidy benefit can be used on Metrorail, Metro bus and the DC Circulator bus within the District of Columbia. There is no restriction on the days/hours when the benefit can be used; however, the primary intent of the program is to provide assistance for adult learners in their travel to and from education programs.

How much is the benefit provided by the Adult Learner Transit Subsidy program?

The Adult Learner Transit Subsidy program provides eligible adult learners with a $70 monthly transit benefit. Any unused subsidy amount will not roll over to the next month.

How long is the Adult Learner Transit Subsidy program benefit valid?

The Adult Learner Transit Subsidy program benefit is only valid for the month in which it was awarded and loaded onto the student’s SmarTrip card. Any unused subsidy amount will not roll over to the next month.

How the Adult Learner Transit Subsidy Program is Different from Other Programs


How is the Adult Learner Transit Subsidy program different from the Kids Ride Free program?

Adult Learners: 

  • Age: 18+
  • Enrollment: District education programs that have been approved by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)
  • Benefit: $70 each month

Kids Ride Free: 

  • Age: 5 through 21
  • Enrollment: DC Public/Charter School, a DC private school, or home-school (verification letter from Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) required
  • Benefit: Unlimited use of the Metro and DC Circulator transit systems, within the District of Columbia

Note: If a student is eligible for the Kids Ride Free program, they are not eligible for the Adult Learners subsidy.

Are college students eligible to participate in the Adult Learner Transit Subsidy program?

No, college students are not eligible for this program. This program is for adult students who are District residents, age 18 and older, and enrolled in District education programs that have been approved by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).

SmarTrip Card Details


Should I “tap” or “flash” my SmarTrip card at the fare machine?

ALWAYS tap your SmarTrip card at the fare machine, as you enter the Metro bus or DC Circulator, and at the fare gates on your way in and out of a Metrorail Station.

Am I required to register my SmarTrip card with WMATA?

Yes. Students are required to register their SmarTrip cards with WMATA, to ensure that the benefit is being awarded to the correct student. SmarTrip cards can be registered with WMATA at https://smartrip.wmata.com/Account/Create.

Is there a special SmarTrip card for the Adult Learner Transit Subsidy program?

No, there is not a special SmarTrip card for the Adult Learner Transit Subsidy program. The subsidy amount will be disbursed to enrolled SmarTrip cards at the beginning of each month as long as the individual remains eligible to receive the benefit.

How do I register my SmarTrip card with WMATA?

SmarTrip cards can be registered with WMATA at https://smartrip.wmata.com/Account/Create.

How do students obtain replacement cards if the SmarTrip card is lost or stolen?

Students can call 1-888-762-7874 or email [email protected] to cancel a lost/stolen card and request a new one. See https://www.wmata.com/fares/replacements-refunds.cfm. For registered SmarTrip cards, in most cases, the remaining balance may be transferred from the old card to a new card.

Can the SmarTrip card have the student’s name and photo on it like a DC One card?

The student’s SmarTrip card will look and function much like any other SmarTrip card. There will not be a photo of the student on the card.

Do I still need a DC One Card and how can they be requested?

The DC One Card is a consolidated credential designed to give children, adults and seniors access to DC government facilities and programs, such as DC Public Libraries and DC Department of Parks and Recreation facilities. For information on obtaining a new DC One Card, please visit https://octo.dc.gov/service/apply-dc-one-card.