Neighbor group votes to set up $1 Metro passes for college students

Commissioner Eve Zhurbinskiy proposed a resolution at an Advisory Neighborhood Commission Wednesday night in favor of a Metro pass for D.C. college students. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Commissioner Eve Zhurbinskiy proposed a resolution at an Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting Wednesday night in favor of a Metro pass for D.C. college students. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Updated: Nov. 19, 2015 at 10:25 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Andrew Goudsward.

D.C. college students could soon ride the Metro as much as they would like for $1 a day.

Commissioners at a Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting Wednesday voted unanimously to support the Metro governing board’s proposal to offer special passes to students studying in D.C.

Commissioner Eve Zhurbinskiy, who is also a sophomore at GW, introduced the resolution, saying Metro’s plan would provide more affordable transportation for D.C.’s college students, promote sustainability and boost Metro ridership.

“This is something that a lot of people would want because it would make Metro more affordable,” Zhurbinskiy said, “There are a lot of students who commute using it.”

Zhurbinskiy said the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which runs Metro bus and rail services, released a report on Oct. 8 that concluded the organization would benefit from offering college students a special transportation rate for Metrorail.

Zhurbinskiy said she did not know if the plan would include discounted bus service as well.

Under the proposal, students would pay a mandatory fee through their universities to receive discounted service. Zhurbinskiy said the cost of that fee for GW students still needs to be determined by the WMATA board, the University administration and the Student Association.

The University has not yet publicly endorsed Metro’s plan.

The exact details of how the proposal would be implemented are still being finalized, but Zhurbinskiy said she expects students would be issued a special fare card to allow the planned $1 daily rides.

Zhurbinskiy said similar programs are already in place in major cities across the country, including Seattle where students at the University of Washington are eligible for unlimited rides on city public transportation for a $76 quarterly fee.

ANC Chairman Patrick Kennedy said the proposed discount “seems like a great idea for students.”

Last month, Metro’s governing board acknowledged that concerns over service quality and reliability are contributing to decreased ridership, The Washington Post reported.

Since 2010, ridership has declined 5 percent, from 225 million passenger trips to 214 million, according to The Post.

The exact timetable for the program is still being determined. Zhurbinskiy said it would likely be rolled out at American University next fall, and then could expand to GW, Georgetown and Howard universities.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly spelled Eve Zhurbinskiy’s name on multiple references. We regret this error.

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