Arlington Students Can Now Get Free Metrobus Rides

Published on January 22, 2024

ART bus and Metrobus

Starting in January, students can now use an iRide SmarTrip card to ride Metrobus for free in Arlington. This new collaboration between the County and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) aims to provide young people with greater access to safe, environmentally friendly transit options to go to school and other destinations.

"This expansion of service builds on existing investment by Arlington County to help young people get not only to school, but everywhere by transit," says Lynn Rivers, Transit Bureau chief for Arlington County.

In 2022, the County began subsidizing free rides for students with iRide cards, and in 2023 student ridership totaled 108,365 people between January and September, compared to 61,060 during the same period in 2022. This expansion provides connectivity to more destinations, including schools not currently served by ART routes, such as Swanson Middle School. Students will now have free access to Metrobus’ greater range of service and hours.

Any student enrolled in kindergarten to 12th grade who lives in Arlington County can get a free iRide SmarTrip at any Commuter Store in Arlington or through Arlington Public Schools.

APS is excited about the expansion of the Student iRide Fare Free Program to include Metrobus service within Arlington," says Cathy Lin, Director of Facilities and Operations for Arlington Public Schools. "This opportunity expands access for our students to travel in Arlington on public transit buses."

The agreement between Arlington County and WMATA to include Metrobuses on iRide Cards was approved by the Arlington County Board in July of 2023. The Fiscal Year 2024 budget allocates $360,000 in the County’s WMATA budget to reimburse Metrobus for student rides.

For information on the iRide SmarTrip card and to see which Metrobus routes are eligible for free student rides, visit the Arlington Transit page.

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