American University to debut Metro discount

Metro
Metro will offer discounted rides to American University students beginning next fall. Hatchet File Photo.

American University will become the first college in the District to offer discounted Metro rides for its students, officials announced Tuesday.

Under the plan, all full-time undergraduate, graduate and law students at AU will receive a special Metro card called a U-Pass starting this school year, enabling unlimited rides on Metrorail and Metrobus for roughly $1 per day during the school year, according to a news release from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

AU students will pay for the discount through a student benefits fee, the release stated.

“This is an important partnership that enables Metro to better serve the region’s universities, build ridership in the near term and encourage the next generation to become public transit users,” Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul Wiedefeld said in the release.

WMATA proposed a similar discount for GW students that could have started as soon as this fall. Student leaders spoked with WMATA and University officials throughout last academic year and in a referendum during last spring’s Student Association elections, 73.5 percent of students voted in approval of a proposal that would have offered discounted rides for a tuition fee.

In April University officials opted not to adopt the proposal, saying it wasn’t “feasible or fair” to charge students who don’t use public transportation the Metro fee. Officials said they would continue working with WMATA to come up with a proposal for students who frequently ride Metro.

WMATA first suggested the proposal to colleges across the District last fall as a way to boost declining ridership and encourage area college students to use Metro.

Tuesday’s release said AU’s discount was a pilot program and would be reevaluated at the end of the school year.

“Metro expects the pilot to attract other colleges and universities in the region that have expressed interest,” the release said.

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