Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Student iRide SmarTrip® Card?
The Student iRide SmarTrip® Card is a permanent, rechargeable fare card only for Arlington County K - 12 students. It's plastic, like a credit card, and is embedded with a special computer chip that keeps track of the value of the card. Starting August 29, 2022, the card lets students ride Arlington Transit -- ART buses for free. Students can add value to the card to use on any regional transit system that accepts SmarTrip®, including Metrobus and Metrorail, however, the free student fare only applies to ART. The card expires when the student graduates from high school (see question 5). View this video to learn more about the SmarTrip card.
2. Who is eligible to participate?
Arlington County students of elementary, middle and high school age are eligible for a Student iRide SmarTrip® Card. Students who are home schooled or attend public or private school are eligible as long as they are Arlington County residents. The card will expire when the student graduates from high school (see question 5). The Student iRide SmarTrip card must be registered to the student with WMATA at the time of receiving it.
3. How much does the Student iRide SmarTrip® Card cost?
The cost is free – one card per student. After receiving it, money can be added onto the card in order to use the card to pay for transit fares on Metrobus, Metrorail, or other transit systems. (See Question 12 for more information on how to add money.) If the card is lost, a replacement card can be purchased for $2.00.
4. How does the Student iRide SmarTrip® Card work?
The card can be used for free rides on all ART buses. Money must be added to the card to use on Metrobus, Metrorail and regional bus systems that accept SmarTrip. The student free fare does not apply to any other transit services. Students will be charged regular fare when using the card on other transit services..
5. How long is the Student iRide SmarTrip® Card good for?
The Student iRide SmarTrip® Card will expire when the student graduates from high school. Students who attend Arlington Community High School, Langston High School or another continuing education program can use the Student iRide SmarTrip card until they either graduate or turn 22 years old. At that time, the student will need to purchase a regular SmarTrip® Card. Any money still on the Student SmarTrip card when it expires will be transferred to a regular SmarTrip® Card. Both cards must be registered with WMATA to make this possible.
6. Where can I get the Student iRide SmarTrip® Card?
The Student iRide SmarTrip® Card is available for middle and high school students from their Transportation Coordinator (TC) located onsite at their middle school or high school. The card is also available at any Commuter Store or Mobile Commuter Store.
7. Can I get a Student iRide SmarTrip® Card online or by mail?
No. You must come in person to get a Student iRide SmarTrip® Card at your middle school or high school or one of the Commuter Stores. A student ID, state issued identification card or driver’s license must be presented at the time of purchase. Documentation of age must be provided with the student ID if the student’s birth date is not verified on the student identification card.
8. Are Student iRide SmarTrip® Cards required to be registered?
Yes, the card will be registered to the student at the time of receiving it. If the registered Student iRide SmarTrip® Card is lost or stolen, the stored value can be transferred to a new card.
9. What if the Student iRide SmarTrip® Card is lost or stolen?
The student must contact the SmarTrip® Regional Customer Service Center (RCSC) at 1-888-762-7874 (TDD: 711) to report the lost or stolen card. The Student iRide SmarTrip® Card will be deactivated. A replacement Student iRide SmarTrip® Card is available from the Transportation Coordinator (TC) at their middle and high schools or at any Commuter Store in Arlington (see question 6 for locations). There is a $2.00 cost for replacement Student iRide SmarTrip® Cards. All cards must be registered, so that any stored value on a lost or stolen card can be transferred to a new card.
10. What if I have problems with my Student iRide SmarTrip® Card or lose money while trying to use it?
For questions pertaining to the Student iRide SmarTrip® Card, please contact the SmarTrip® Regional Customer Service Center (RCSC) at 1-888-762-7874 or see Metro's SmarTrip page for more information from Metro.
11. Can someone else use my SmarTrip card?
No. The Student iRide SmarTrip® Card is intended for use only by the student who purchased and registered the card.
12. How do I add money to my Student iRide SmarTrip Card?
Just like a regular SmarTrip Card, you can add money at any Metrorail, Metrobus or ART fare machine, at select Giant and CVS/pharmacy stores, and at any Commuter Store. As a last resort, you can add money using the fare box on the bus.
13. I participated in the Student Free Fare Pilot during school year 2021-22, is my Student iRide SmarTrip card eligible for the fare free program?
Yes, all Student iRide SmarTrip cards issued last year during the Student Free Fare Pilot can begin to ride ART buses for free beginning Monday August 29, 2022.
14. I participated in the Student Free Fare Pilot during school year 2021-22. Can I register my Student iRide Card?
No, at this time students that received Student iRide SmarTrip cards during the Student Free Fare Pilot cannot register those cards. Please contact the school’s STC for further information.
15. What if I have general questions pertaining to ART - Arlington Transit bus service?
For questions regarding ART -- Arlington Transit bus service, please call the Customer Service number at 703-228-RIDE (703-228-7433, TDD: 711) or go to www.arlingtontransit.com