Arlington Transit has made all travel for APS students on ART buses free with a registered iRide SmarTrip card. Students with existing iRide SmarTrip cards can automatically participate in the fare free program and do not need to perform any additional steps. If a student would like the option to participate in the fare free program but does not have an iRide SmarTrip card, they will need to either contact the School Transportation Coordinator (STC) at their middle school or high school or visit a Commuter Store. The initial number of iRide SmarTrip cards will be limited but additional cards will be available in October.
For additional details, please see the attached frequently asked questions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)Who is eligible to participate?
All students are eligible, but the program is mainly aimed at middle and high school students.
When can I ride for free?
Students with iRide SmarTrip cards can ride any ART bus route beginning Mon, Aug. 29, the first day of school for 2022-23.
Can I also ride Metrobus for free?
No, the fare free program is only valid on ART buses. Stored value can be added to the card for usage on Metrobuses, Metrorail, and other transit agencies that accept SmarTrip cards.
I already have an iRide SmarTrip card from last year can I ride ART for free?
Yes, the fare free program will be available to all APS students with existing iRide SmarTrip cards.
If I don’t have an iRide SmarTrip card, where can I get one?
There are two options available for a student to acquire an iRide SmarTrip card. The iRide SmarTrip card is free.
- School Transportation Coordinators (STCs) at the middle or high school the student attends will have cards available the week of September 12. The STC will issue and assist with registering an iRide SmarTrip card for students.
- Students may visit a Commuter Store located at the Ballston Metro, Crystal City Metro, Shirlington Bus Station, Rosslyn Metro, Pentagon Metro or the Mobile Commuter Store.
- Initial card availability is limited. More cards are expected in October.
Does the iRide SmarTrip card need to be registered?
Yes, the iRide SmarTrip card will need to be registered to the student or parent. If the student participated in the Student Free Fare Pilot during school year 2021-22, please see the FAQ below.
Why do I need to register the iRide SmarTrip card?
The iRide SmarTrip card must be registered in the event the card is ever lost, stolen, or damaged and a replacement needs to be issued. Replacement cards will cost $2.
I participated in the Student Free Fare Pilot during school year 2021-22, is my iRide SmarTrip card eligible for the fare free program?
Yes, all iRide SmarTrip cards issued last year during the Student Free Fare Pilot can begin to ride ART buses for free beginning Mon, Aug. 29.
I participated in the Student Free Fare Pilot during school year 2021-22, can I register my iRide SmarTrip card?
No, at this time students that received iRide SmarTrip cards during the Student Free Fare Pilot cannot register those cards. Please contact the school’s STC for further information.
Why are there a limited number of iRide SmarTrip cards available for students at the beginning of the school year?
Specific cards are required for the free ride program and the manufacturer of the cards has been impacted by supply-chain issues.
When will more iRide SmarTrip cards become available for student registration?
The manufacturer of the cards has indicated the County can anticipate another shipment of cards sometime in October.
Please visit iRide for Arlington Students