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School Transit Subsidy Program

Kids Ride Free

The Kids Ride Free (KRF) 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. 

To be eligible, students must be :
  • a resident of the District of Columbia
  • between the ages 5 and 21
  • 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.

2018 - 2019 School Year 

The Kids Ride Free (KRF) program is getting smarter! Mayor Muriel Bowser established and championed KRF to ensure that all students who attend public schools can ride to and from school related activities for free on Metrobus, Metrorail, and the DC Circulator. DDOT and the school systems are implementing 2018-2019 school year updates to the program based on feedback from parents and students. These updates will make the program easier to use and more accessible.

Students who use Metrorail, Metrobus, and DC Circulator to get to school and school-related activities need to obtain a new KRF SmarTrip card at a summer distribution event or when the next school year starts. Beginning October 1, 2018, students will no longer be able to use their DC One Cards to access public transportation. The new card will be separate from students’ DC One Card and will provide students with free transportation to school and school-related activities. The new SmarTrip card will provide students with free and immediate access to travel on Metrobus, Metrorail, and DC Circulator. Students will simply be required to tap their new KRF SmarTrip cards on all bus and rail trips.

Get Your Card Early

In the coming weeks, card distribution events will be held in every ward. At these card distribution events, students who currently use bus and/or rail to get to school and school-related activities can register and obtain their new Kids Ride Free SmarTrip card before the new school year begins. In order to receive a new Kids Ride Free SmarTrip card, students will need to be present and bring their current DC One Card or a government-issued ID to one of these events.







Wilson High School

3950 Chesapeake St NW,
Washington, DC 20016


July 21

9am - 2pm


Capitol Hill Montessori School @ Logan

215 G St NE,
Washington, DC 20002


July 22

2pm - 7pm


Brightwood Education Campus

1300 Nicholson Street, NW
Washington, DC 20011


August 4

9am - 2pm


Dunbar High School

101 N St NW,
Washington, DC 20001


August 5

1pm - 6pm


Columbia Heights Ed Campus

3101 16th St NW,
Washington, DC 20010


August 11

9am - 2pm


Ballou High School

3401 4th St SE,
Washington, DC 20032


August 12

1pm - 6pm


Walter E. Washington Convention Center

801 Mt Vernon Place NW,
Washington, DC 20001


August 18

9am - 4pm


District Department of Employment Services

4058 Minnesota Ave NE,
Washington, DC 20019


August 19

1pm - 6pm


*Event locations are subject to change. Please continue to check this website for updates as the KRF distribution events get closer. 

Receiving a card at a Distribution Event 

To receive a card at a Summer Distribution Event, students must:

  • meet the Kids Ride Free program eligibility requirements 

  • have been enrolled in grades K-11 during SY 2017-2018. Returning students who were in 12th grade this past school year are not eligible to receive a card at a distribution event but may request one at their school.

  • have attended a DCPS, DCPCS, or DC private school in 2017-2018

Students who qualify for Kids Ride Free but are ineligible to receive a card at a distribution event may request one at their school at the beginning of the school year from their DC One Card Administrator.

Required Documentation 

To receive a new KRF SmarTrip card at a Summer Distribution Event, students will need to bring the following documentation:


Private or Parochial School Students

  1. Current DC One Card


  2. Other government issued ID such as a driver’s license, passport, or other ID card issued by US federal, state, or local government

  1. Current DC One Card or other government issued ID

  2. Proof of DC Residency

  3. Proof of School Enrollment

Note: Private or parochial students under 18 that do not have a DC Driver’s License must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to submit required documentation. A list of acceptable documentation for private or parochial students is available here

Additional Information

If students are unable to attend a summer distribution event, they can get their new SmartTrip card from their school’s DC One Card Administrator at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. For additional information, please review the Kids Ride Free 2018-2019 Frequently Asked Questions. If you have additional questions about the KRF program, please contact your school’s DC One Card Administrator or the District Department of Transportation’s School Transit Subsidy Office at (202) 673-1740.

School Year 2017 - 2018 Kid Ride Free with DC One Card 

To ensure students avoid an interruption in their ability to use the Metro or DC Circulator, current KRF activated DC One Cards can be tapped to ride through September 30, 2018.

Loading the DC One Card

Pass Loading Instructions

Students are strongly encouraged to load DC One Cards at Metrorail Stations to avoid incurring a negative fare balance. To load your DC One Card at a Metrorail Station: 

  • Take the DC One Card to a Metrorail station.
  • Tap the card at a fare vending machine. If the machine displays a negative balance on the card, bring it up to $0.
  • On the next day, return to the same Metrorail station and tap the card again on a fare vending machine to load the pass.
  • Tap your card on a fare gate or farebox to use the pass.
  • If the gate does not open, check with the station manager to see if the pass has been successfully loaded or check the card status at dconecard.dc.gov.

Alternatively, DC One Cards can also be loaded on Metrobus or the DC Circulator. To load the benefit on the Metrobus or DC Circulator: 

  • Tap your DC One Card on a Metrobus farebox.
  • Wait three business days for the pass to become available for loading.
  • Tap the card again on a Metrobus farebox to complete loading and use the pass.
    If the pass hasn’t loaded after Steps 2 and 3, check the card status at dconecard.dc.gov or call the School Transit Office 
These flyers, frequently asked questions, and FAQs in Espanol provide additional detail about KRF 2017-2018. 

Discounted Metrorail Pass for Private School Students

Private school students may purchase the discounted 30-day student transit pass for $30 at the  Metro Sales office located at 600 5th Street, NW or online at wmata.com.

This pass is electronically loaded onto students’ DC One Cards after signing up for the program at dconecard.dc.gov. Students must be age 5 to 21, live in the District, and be enrolled at a District school to be eligible.

* Private and parochial school students are eligible for the free bus benefit, but not the free rail benefit. College students are not eligible for the Kids Ride Free program.



Contact Us

For additional information about the School Transit Subsidy Program, please call (202) 673-1740.