Last week, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced that college students at DC-based universities will be able to purchase discounted $25 Capital Bikeshare passes, thanks to the efforts of student advocates. The passes, which typically cost $85 annually, will be available for purchase immediately for George Washington University students, the GW Hatchet reports.
Other universities will likely soon follow suit by opting into the program, which comes at no charge to schools. DC will now join Chicago, Salt Lake City, Boston, Madison, and other cities whose bikeshare programs provide discounted memberships to students.
Breaking news: @DDOTDC accepted my proposal to enable all college students in the District of Columbia to sign up for a $25/year membership to Capital Bikeshare (it’s normally $85/year)!— James Harnett (@jarharnett) August 22, 2019
It’s a huge step in the fight for free public transportation for everyone. pic.twitter.com/xkhVOzNgwZ
These discounted passes didn’t come about overnight. For more than seven years, college students serving as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANCs) have advocated for this discount in order to boost ridership and affordability, only to run into one bureaucratic hurdle after another.
That all changed earlier this year, when James Harnett, a GW senior and commissioner representing fellow students, met with DDOT Director Jeff Marootian (who also served as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Foggy Bottom while an undergraduate student at GW) to work on finally making discounted student Bikeshare passes a reality. Recognizing that an $85 up-front cost is a barrier to students who don’t have disposable income, DDOT finally implemented the discount.
Now, college students join the list of those who already have access to $25 Capital Bikeshare memberships, including DC government employees and ANCs, university faculty and staff, and employees of other institutions that have opted into the corporate discount program.
Kudos to James Harnett and all the students before him who worked hard to increase affordable transportation access!