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Arlington Cutting Teen Fares

Arlington County has a smart idea: If you want people to get in the habit of riding transit, get them while they're young.

Even smarter: Ask them what it would take to get them to ride.

The county, always progressive on transit ideas, has a Teen Transit Advisory Board made up of 8th to 12th graders. They identified what they and their peers see as some of the hurdles that transit systems put up, and they included a lack of information (as in, when is the bus coming) and the cost of a ride.

At their early sessions this summer, the teens began brainstorming about how to take down some of the barriers and they reviewed the results of a county survey of teenagers.

The Arlington County Board has now responded by establishing a youth fare on its ART buses. Starting Jan. 1, the base fare for people with a middle or high school ID will be cut from $1.25 to 60 cents. "We believe low-fare bus rides can provide a good alternative to those teens who need to easily get to their jobs, after-school activities and recreational venues," county board member Chris Zimmerman said in a statement.

Teenagers also can buy Youth Tokens, sold in bags of 20 for $10 at any Commuter Store. They're in Rosslyn, Ballston, or Crystal City.

Pretty good idea that other jurisdictions could pick up on.

By the way, Arlington's CommuterPage is a great source of transportation information for our entire region, and now has a blog of its own that I check out regularly.

By Robert Thomson  |  December 13, 2006; 6:15 AM ET
Categories:  transit  
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Next: Creating a Fair Fare


This has the added benefit of helping get them out of cars, where they can be a particular menace to everyone else.

Posted by: ah | December 13, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

The Teen Transit Advisory Board link above should go to

Posted by: Chris Hamilton | December 13, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Other transit agencies have done this! Montgomery Ride-On has a similar policy, and I see tons of kids getting on in the afternoons at Blair HS as proof of it working.

Posted by: Look at MD | December 14, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I am a District resident, and I understand that students need to get to and from school. The lower fares are probably necessary. However, I think that a sizable number of Washington, D.C. public school students are acting inappropriately on the buses and subway. It makes life difficult for many other riders.

Posted by: Jeff | December 14, 2006 11:35 PM | Report abuse

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