“The free student bus pass program has continued to grow despite the challenges of the pandemic,” said Kala Quintana, head of marketing for the Fairfax Connector, at a recent Board of Supervisors Transportation Committee meeting about the program.
It was first launched in 2015 with free Fairfax County Connector rides for all public school students in the county.
“We’re now at over 2 million trips taken by students since the program began,” Quintana said.
Free rides on the City of Fairfax CUE was added to that program about a year later. Then, in 2018, Justice High School students were allowed to get free Metrobus passes on preselected routes.
Now, four new schools will be added to the free ride list and will be able to ride Metrobus, the Fairfax County Connecter and the Fairfax CUE for free on certain routes starting in September.
The new schools added will be Annandale High, Falls Church High, Marshall High and Davis Center.
Metrobus access is limited to specific Northern Virginia routes, is not for use on Metrorail, must be used by the student rider and only between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, statistics show that students represented 6.5% of the total Fairfax Connector ridership. That number increased to 7.6% as of April 2022.
There were more than 100,000 student trips on Metrobus since fall 2018 from Justice High School students, according to the program.
“I’m especially pleased that we were able to work out an arrangement with Metrobus, because most of the schools in my district are not served by the Connector,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Penny Gross.
There will be an expansion launch event for the Metrobus passes in September at Marshall High School with mini promotional events at each school to follow.