Thanks to a new collaboration with MetroBus, students will now have more access to free public transportation to and from school.
The Fairfax County Public Schools Board of Supervisors discussed the initiative on September 22 of this year. Students at Justice, Annandale, Falls Church and George C. Marshall High Schools can now sign up for free bus cards allowing them to ride the Fairfax Connector, City of Fairfax CUE and select MetroBus lines free of charge.
“I got a bus pass since I cannot drive,” sophomore Vedansh Garg said. “Even if I don’t use it, it’s still nice to have since I can go basically anywhere.”
Systems of Support Advisor Kathleen Sokolove, who organizes the bus pass process at Marshall, said the overall policy has been in place since 2018. However, she said the recent addition of MetroBus to the initiative has made it more well-known.
“I feel like there’s been a push from the county,” Sokolove said. “They did a big kickoff this year; they’ve been advertising it more…they gave me a big giant sign to hang up.”
Sokolove said there hasn’t been much interest in the program in previous years.
“I’m not sure people were jumping on public transportation buses last year,” she said. “And then [the] COVID year, not as much.”
According to Sokolove’s notes, last year 35 students total signed up to get a bus pass. This year, at least 31 have signed up just in first quarter.
“I think [the pass] is helpful for students who don’t have a car because they can go to places by bus where they can’t walk,” Garg said. “If someone ever needs to go somewhere, then they can just go on the bus.”
To sign up, students can visit room A102 to get a permission slip, which must be signed by a parent or guardian even if the student is over 18.
The process is “super easy,” Sokolove said. “I just have to enter in the information and you get a bus card.”
Sokolove said students can find bus routes easily by using MetroBus’s Trip Planner (wmata.com/schedules) to map out their travel plan.
“It’s a great service,” she said. “Even if you’re not planning to take the bus, come get a bus card in A102!”