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Kids Ride Free Frequently Asked Questions

Kids Ride Free (KRF) Program
Frequently Asked Questions

Since school year 2020-2021 is starting with virtual learning at most schools, how can a student obtain a KRF SmarTrip card?

While many schools are not offering in-person instruction for students, KRF SmarTrip cards will still be assigned and issued by school ID administrators, who will have direct access to a supply of cards as well as enrollment lists for their respective schools. NOTE: The current SY 2019-2020 KRF SmarTrip cards will be valid through September 29, 2020.

What changes can we expect for the School Year (SY) 2020-2021 KRF SmarTrip program?

  • The SY 2019-2020 KRF SmarTrip cards will be valid through September 29, 2020, so there is no rush to obtain a new school year 2020-2021 card.
  • The SY 2020-2021 KRF SmarTrip card design will be blue, black and white, to differentiate it from cards from previous years, and it will have the words “Kids Ride Free 2020-2021” on it.
  • The District plans to begin distribution of the new SY 2020-2021 KRF SmarTrip cards in August. Similar to the previous school year, students who request a KRF SmarTrip card will be assigned a pre-loaded card that is ready to use on Metrorail, Metrobus, and DC Circulator.

When will I receive my new SY 2020-2021 Kids Ride Free SmarTrip Card?

Most students will be able to collect a new SY 2020-2021 Kids Ride Free SmarTrip Card from their School ID Administrator beginning in September.

How will I get to school if I don’t receive a new SY 2020-2021 Kids Ride Free SmarTrip Card before school begins?

Your SY 2019-2020 Kids Ride Free SmarTrip card (last year’s card) will remain valid through September 29, 2020.

What if this is my first time needing a Kids Ride Free Card?

New students will be given first priority at their schools to pick up new KRF SmarTrip cards.

Which students are allowed to receive the new SY 2019-2020 KRF SmarTrip card?

To be eligible for participation in the Kids Ride Free program, each student must be:

  • A resident of the District of Columbia, AND
  • Age 5 through 21, AND
  • Enrolled in an elementary or secondary public, charter, private or parochial school located within the District, or a ward of DC through the foster care system.

Are college students eligible for the KRF SmarTrip card?

No, college students are not eligible for this program. This program is for students who are District residents and who attend a District public, public charter or private school, are ages 5 through 21, or a ward of DC through the foster care system are eligible to enroll in the Kids Ride Free program.

When and where can the new KRF SmarTrip card be used?

KRF SmarTrip cards are primarily for transportation to and from school and school related activities in the District. If a student needs to get to a school-related event on the weekend, they may use this card.

How will the KRF SY 2020-2021 SmarTrip card look different from last year’s KRF SmarTrip cards?

The KRF SY 2020-2021 SmarTrip cards will be a unique design in blue, black and white, and will have the words “Kids Ride Free 2020-2021” on it. Each student requesting to participate in Kids Ride Free will be assigned one SmarTrip card with a unique serial number.

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

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

Can I continue to use my old KRF SmarTrip card?

The previous school year KRF SmarTrip card will be valid for use on Metrorail, Metrobus, and DC Circulator through the end of September. However, once you have picked up your new SY 2020-2021 KRF SmarTrip card from your school ID administrator, your previous card will be deactivated and will no longer work on fare machines.

What do I do with my old SmarTrip card?

Please surrender any old KRF SmarTrip cards to your school ID administrator. Once your school ID administrator issues a new KRF SmarTrip card to you, the previous card will be deactivated and will no longer be valid for use on the Metrobus, Metrorail, or DC Circulator.

Will the SmarTrip card have the student’s name and photo on it?

The KRF SmarTrip card will have space in the back to write the student’s name on it. There will not be a photo of the student on the card.

How will replacement cards be handled for DCPS & Charter School Students?

Similar to last year, if a card needs to be replaced, students will need to request a new Kids Ride Free SmarTrip card from their school ID administrator (located at their respective school). In addition, the lost card will be reported to WMATA and will be deactivated.

How will replacement cards be handled for Private School Students?

Similar to last year, the student will need to fill out the KRF application that can be obtained from the school ID administrator at their respective school. The school ID administrator will send the form to DDOT and a card will be processed by the DDOT School Transit Subsidy Program Office. The card will be sent to the school ID administrator at the school for distribution to the student. The lost card will be reported to WMATA and will be deactivated.

If I lose my card, will I be charged for a replacement card?

Students will not be charged for replacement cards. In the interim, students who lose their card will be responsible for paying their fare until they receive a replacement KRF SmarTrip card.

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

DCPS students will continue to use their DC One Card as a student ID, and all students who have a DC One Card will still be able to use it to access District of Columbia Public Libraries and DC Department of Parks and Recreation facilities. New DC One Cards may still be requested from a school’s DC One Card administrator.


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