D.C. public school students who use Metro to get back and forth from their schools are in for a change.
The District is launching a pilot program this month to transition students from using the current paper transit passes to using the DC One Card.
The first phase of the move this month will involve about 500 students from School Without Walls in Northwest.
The second phase is for summer school students at select public schools.
If all goes well, the program will be rolled out in phases to middle and high school students starting this fall and continuing into the school year.
Right now, about 16,000 students can ride on Metro at a reduced rate during the school year.
"The DC One Card allows District of Columbia residents to access schools, D.C. government facilities and programs as well as the Metro transit system all with the same card" said D.C. Council member and Metro Board member Tommy Wells.
Why the switch? With youth crime rising, Wells said in February that officials could consider restricting travel on the cards after 8 p.m. and on weekends could be “a tool to help.” Wells said young people will still be able to use Metro at night and on weekends, just not on their subsidized cards. Restrictions are not part of the initial implementation of the plan.
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 DC One Card was first launched in April 2008.