The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA, or Metro) will begin offering reduced fares to low-income riders through its new “Metro Lift” program, which launched on June 20. The program offers a 50 percent discount for travel on Metrorail and Metrobus for customers in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia who are enrolled in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).
The reduced fare for Metro buses will be $1 per ride, matching the post-COVID-19 rate charged for Montgomery County’s Ride On buses.
“We are pleased to work with WMATA to help promote SNAP beneficiaries and ensure that public transportation is accessible and available to our most vulnerable citizens,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “With the new Metro Lift program, economically disadvantaged customers will be able to ride any bus in the County for only $1. By keeping fare costs to a minimum for those who can least afford it, we can ensure more people are able to travel for employment opportunities, medical care and other essential services.”
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) commissioned a study in 2021 to examine the Ride On bus fare structure with the goal of improving access to the Ride On transit system, particularly among low-income and economically vulnerable residents after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ride On Zero & Reduced Fare Study found that most riders would benefit from reduced fares, but that developing and maintaining a program for low-income riders was not cost-effective. With County Executive and Council support, MCDOT reduced rates to 50 percent of the pre-pandemic $2 fare for all riders. The $1 reduced fare was implemented on Aug. 1, 2022.
Online enrollment information for the program can be found at wmata.com/Metro Lift. In-person enrollment, allowing for immediate access to the program for those qualified, will begin at designated locations in Montgomery County and at three sites in Washington area starting on Monday, June 26.
The fare discount will be valid for one year after enrollment and will be available up to 48 hours after online enrollment. In addition to reduced fare, enrolled customers will receive a free SmartTrip® card.
Approved by Metro’s Board of Directors in its Fiscal Year 2024 budget, the program advances transit equity and affordability in a region considered one of the most expensive in the nation and where low-income households face the greatest economic disparities.
“We know that public transportation plays an instrumental role in equity,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “Working together to ensure that we have an affordable and well-integrated transportation network is one of our highest priorities. Metro Lift brings fare to $1, matching our current reduced fare. This consistency is important for riders; they need to know what to expect when traveling in the region.”
Metro will continue to refine the program based on customer feedback and is working to expand enrollment locations over time, including within Montgomery County. Currently, County residents who qualify for the program and wish to enroll can do so online here. Online enrollment will take up to 48 hours to activate.
Needed to Enroll
- If you have one, bring your SmarTrip® card for you and each member of your household enrolled. SmartTrip cards will be provided if you do not already have them.
- Active SNAP EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card.
- Copy of your SNAP proof of benefits (if you are applying for members of your household).
- Current photo identification (ID) card issued by the U.S., D.C, Maryland or Virginia.
- Phone number.
- Online (now available)
- Go to wmata.com/MetroLift.
- Complete the enrollment form for you and/or members of your SNAP household.
- Discount will be loaded to SmarTrip card up to 48 hours after enrollment.
- Use your SmarTrip card and go.
- Schedule an appointment to visit one of WMATA’s in-person enrollment centers. Appointment booking is now available:
- Online at wmata.com/MetroLift.
- By Phone at 1-888-SmarTrip (888-762-7874).
- In-person enrollment will be available at the following locations:
- Metro Center Metro Station. 12th & F Street NW Entrance. Mezzanine Level.
- Metro Headquarters. 300 7th Street SW, Washington, D.C.
- New Carrollton Metro Office. 4100 Garden City Dr., Hyattsville