Students Could Face Metro Restrictions

Subsidized travel may get time constraints

By P.J. Orvetti
|  Friday, Feb 25, 2011  |  Updated 6:45 AM EDT
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Students Could Face Metro Restrictions

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WASHINGTON - APRIL 28: A Metro train departs from the Gallery Place - Chinatown Metro Station April 28, 2006 in Washington, DC. With gas prices soaring past $3.00 a gallon, there has been an increase in public transportation use across the United States. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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D.C. students who work in the evening or take part in extracurricular activities on the weekend may be out of luck when it comes to using their subsidized Metro privileges.

Right now, about 16,000 students can ride on Metro at a reduced rate during the school year. The District Department of Transportation had been planning to move from student passes to a SmarTrip-style card called the “DC OneCard” this spring, the Washington Examiner reports, but now, city officials are considering limiting the use of the new cards.

With youth crime rising, Metro board member Tommy Wells, a D.C. councilmember, says restricting travel on the cards after 8 p.m. and on weekends could be “a tool to help.” Wells says young people will still be able to use Metro at night and on weekends, just not on their subsidized cards.

And since the cards would contain identification chips, they could be used as an indirect form of discipline. If a student is suspended from school, the OneCard could be shut down for the period of punishment. The Washington Post reports Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn said misconduct within the Metro system could also be reported to school officials, since police will be able to get offenders’ names off their cards.

Taborn told the Post, “If Johnny Jones has issues on the transit system, he doesn’t play basketball.”

A pilot program will begin with 1,500 School Without Walls students in mid-April. If it is considered a success, the OneCard plan could be extended to all 16,000 subsidized students.

Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC

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