Image by Joe Flood licensed under Creative Commons.

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.

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!

Eve Zhurbinskiy is a reproductive justice advocate, dog person, and a former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Foggy Bottom, having served from 2015 to 2017. She recently graduated from GW and lives in Dupont Circle.