The School Transit Subsidy Program offers free or reduced transit fares for District students 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.
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 must be loaded onto students’ DC One Cards.
To be eligible, students must meet all three qualifications below:
- Resident of the District of Columbia
- Age 5 to 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.
* 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.
For more details, view this FLYER (in English and the six other languages).
2017-2018 Regular School
December 2017 Advisory:
DC One Cards will not work with a negative balance as of January 8, 2018
Starting Monday, January 8, 2018, Metro's fare system will no longer allow customers to carry or acquire a negative balance on their SmarTrip or DC One Cards while using Metrobus or Metrorail. Students using the Kids Ride Free pass should check their DC One Card’s status at a Metrorail station Fare Vending Machine or on a Metrobus Farebox to ensure that the cards' "stored value" do not reflect negative balances.
If you see a negative balance, add money to bring it up to $0 to ensure your card will continue to work. Negative balances occur when the DC One Card is used before the Kids Ride Free pass has downloaded to the card, or if the card is used for travel outside of the District of Columbia and the following boundary rail stations: Capitol Heights, Friendship Heights, Southern Avenue, Silver Spring, Naylor Road. Additional information on this change is available here.
- You must have either a working DC One Card loaded with the Kids Ride Free pass or stored value* or you will need to pay the regular fare to ride Metrorail, Metrobus or DC Circulator;
- You must tap your DC One Card or SmarTrip card on the faregate or farebox. Without tapping a working card, you can expect to be denied boarding on Metrobus or entry on Metrorail; and
- All Metrorail rider entries and exits must be through the faregate.
* Private and parochial students must have a 30-day ride pass or SmarTrip card to ride Metrorail.
Tips for the Start of the School Year
Two weeks before school starts:
- Ensure enrollment in school. Students should make sure 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 DC One Cards, they can get cards 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 Cards. You can check your balances by tapping your cards on a fare vending machine at a Metrorail 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 take their DC One Card to a Metrorail station and follow these instructions to load the pass at a fare vending machine.
Students who have a DC One Card, are enrolled in school and have downloaded the KRF pass will be able to travel for free starting Monday, August 7, 2017, to reflect the early start date for some schools.
Recommended Method: Load at 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.
Alternate Method: Load on Metrobus or DC Circulator (Consider loading the pass at a Metrorail station, which is faster than on a bus and does not risk incurring a negative fare balance on your DC One Card.)
- 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.
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 have 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.
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.
*Sales of a 10-trip bus and 10-trip rail passes ended on Sunday, June 25, 2017. Existing passes will expire 12 months after the date of purchase. Private and parochial students will continue to receive the Kids Ride Free on bus benefit but must purchase a 30-day pass or SmarTrip card to ride Metrorail.
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.
For additional information about the School Transit Subsidy Program, please call (202) 673-1740.