The Fairfax County School Board has joined the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors by passing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Free Student Bus Pass Program that provides bus passes to all Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) middle and high school students to ride local buses at no cost.
Originally launched in September 2015 as a pilot program, the Free Student Bus Pass Program offered free Fairfax Connector bus passes to students and was joined by the City of Fairfax in September 2016, providing free access to the City’s Fairfax CUE buses. The new MOA provides a formal structure and clear expectations and obligations for each participant.
The program has provided nearly 2 million bus trips for students since it began and, as of February 2020, student ridership has accounted for nearly 6.5 percent of Fairfax Connector passengers. In September 2018, the county executed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for a Metrobus pilot with Justice High School. Fairfax County then switched to a custom-designed and programmed SmarTrip card that enables students to use the cards for multiple years and schools to exercise more control over card distribution.
This successful partnership enables students to attend extracurricular activities, stay after school for tutoring and extra support, get to and from jobs and internships, and visit libraries and museums while helping them learn about public transportation.
As part of the agreement, FCPS will register, distribute, and manage the passes. Fairfax County agrees to provide the passes and free rides on Fairfax Connector buses and promote the program.