The Kids Ride Free (KRF) program allows students to ride for free on Metrobus, Metrorail, and the DC Circulator while traveling within the District.
To be eligible for participation in the KRF program, each student must be:
- A resident of the District of Columbia, and
- Ages 5 through 21, and
- Enrolled in an elementary or secondary public, charter, private or parochial school located within the district or youth in the care of the District.
School Year 2023-2024
In School Year 2023-2024, DC students can request a new SmarTrip Card for traveling on public transit systems within the district. To request a Smart Trip Card, please fill out the following links:
Students can collect their new School Year 2023-2024 KRF SmarTrip cards from their school ID administrators like they did during the last school year.
School Year 2022-2023 Kids Ride Free SmarTrip cards will remain valid through September 30, 2023.
Remember: No Card, No Free Ride
Students riding Metrobus, Metrorail, or DC Circulator should always have their Kids Ride Free SmarTrip card with them or be prepared to pay the regular fare for
their trip. In addition, students should always TAP their card on the METRO fare gate or Metrobus fare box.
Frequently Asked Questions
This information was lifted and translated from Kids Ride Free Frequently Asked Questions.
How much does a Kids Ride Free SmarTrip card cost?
Kids Ride Free SmarTrip cards are FREE to students. The first card is free, and any subsequent replacement cards are also free. There are program administration costs; however, students never have to pay for the card or any associated fees.
How can a student obtain a Kids Ride Free SmarTrip card?
Kids Ride Free (KRF) SmarTrip cards will be assigned and issued by school ID administrators, who will have direct access to a supply of cards as well as enrollment lists for their respective schools.
What changes can we expect for the School Year (SY) 2023-2024 KRF SmarTrip program?
- The SY 2023-2024 KRF SmarTrip card design will prominently feature the KRF logo, and it will have the words “Kids Ride Free 2023-2024” on it.
- The District will start distribution of the new SY 2023-2024 KRF SmarTrip cards in August 2023. Similar to the previous school year, students who request a KRF SmarTrip card will be assigned a pre-loaded card that is ready to use on Metrorail, Metrobus, and DC Circulator.
When will I receive my new SY 2023-2024 Kids Ride Free SmarTrip Card?
Students can request new SY 2023-2024 KRF SmarTrip cards from their School ID Administrator at the start of the school year; however, cards will be available throughout the school year.
How will I get to school if I don’t have a SY 2023-2024 Kids Ride Free SmarTrip Card?
The SY 2022-2023 Kids Ride Free SmarTrip card remained valid through September 30, 2023, or until replaced with a new SY 2023-2024 card. The overlap during the month of September is to help ensure that students will be able to get to school without interruption. Without a valid KRF SmarTrip card, students are responsible for paying the full fare.
What if this is my first time needing a Kids Ride Free SmarTrip Card?
New students will be given first priority at their schools to pick up new KRF SmarTrip cards.
Which students are allowed to receive the new SY 2023-2024 KRF SmarTrip card?
To be eligible for participation in the Kids Ride Free program, each student must be:
- A resident of the District of Columbia, AND
- Ages 5 through 21, AND
- Enrolled in an elementary or secondary public, charter, a private, or parochial school located within the District or youth in the care of the District.
Are college students eligible for the KRF SmarTrip card?
No, college students are not eligible for this program. This program is for students who are District residents and who attend a District public, public charter, or private school, and are ages 5 through 21, or youth in the care of the District.
College students may be eligible for WMATA’s U-Pass program. See https://www.wmata.com/fares/U-Pass/u-pass-faq.cfm for details.
When and where can the new KRF SmarTrip card be used?
KRF SmarTrip cards are primarily for transportation to and from school and school-related activities in the District. If a student needs to get to a school-related event on the weekend, they may use this card.
How will the KRF SY 2023-2024 SmarTrip card look different from last year’s KRF SmarTrip cards?
The SY 2023-2024 KRF SmarTrip card design will prominently feature the KRF logo, and it will have the words “Kids Ride Free 2023-2024” on it. Each student requesting to participate in Kids Ride Free will be assigned one SmarTrip card with a unique serial number.
Should I “tap” or “flash” my KRF SmarTrip card at the fare machine?
Students should ALWAYS tap the KRF SmarTrip card on the fare box as they enter the bus or on the fare gates on their way in and out of a Metrorail Station.
Can I continue to use my old KRF SmarTrip card?
The previous school year's KRF SmarTrip card will be valid for use on Metrorail, Metrobus, and DC Circulator through the end of September. However, once you have picked up your new SY 2023-2024 KRF SmarTrip card from your school ID administrator, your previous card will be deactivated and will no longer work on fare machines.
What do I do with my old SmarTrip card?
Please surrender any old KRF SmarTrip cards to your school ID administrator. Once your school ID administrator issues a new KRF SmarTrip card to you, the previous card will be deactivated and will no longer be valid for use on the Metrobus, Metrorail, or DC Circulator.
Will the SmarTrip card have the student’s name and photo on it?
The KRF SmarTrip card will have space on the back where the School ID Administrator will write the student’s name on it. There will not be a photo of the student on the card.
How will replacement cards be handled for DCPS & Charter School Students?
Similar to last year, if a card needs to be replaced, students will need to request a new Kids Ride Free SmarTrip card from their school ID administrator (located at their respective school). In addition, the lost card will be reported to WMATA and will be deactivated.
How will replacement cards be handled for Private School Students?
Similar to last year, the student will need to fill out the KRF application that can be obtained from the school ID administrator at their respective school. The school ID administrator will send the form to DDOT and a card will be processed by the DDOT School Transit Subsidy Program Office. The card will be sent to the school ID administrator at the school for distribution to the student. The lost card will be reported to WMATA and will be deactivated.
If I lose my card, will I be charged for a replacement card?
Students will not be charged for replacement cards. In the interim, students who lose their card will be responsible for paying their fare until they receive a replacement KRF SmarTrip card.
Do I still need a DC One Card, and how can they be requested?
DCPS students will continue to use their DC One Card as a student ID, and all students who have a DC One Card will still be able to use it to access District of Columbia Public Libraries and DC Department of Parks and Recreation facilities. New DC One Cards may still be requested from a school’s DC One Card administrator.