Special student fares advance at NJ Transit, VIA Metropolitan Transit and Calgary Transit

Jan. 19, 2023
The agencies are offering discounted or free fares to students as a way to incentivize transit use and ease challenges associated with congestion.

Three transit agencies – New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit), VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio and Calgary Transit - recently took actions to extend their discounted or free fares for students.

At NJ Transit, the authority expanded its Student Pass to include eligible part-time students as part of pilot program. Full- and part-time degree-seeking students (those who take at least two courses) are eligible for a 25 percent discount off a monthly pass starting with February passes. Additionally, NJ Transit will launch a “Buy 3 Months, Get 1 Month Free” promotion where students who purchase a monthly Student Pass through the NJ Transit mobile app in February, March and April will receive a Student Pass for use in May. NJ Transit says the promotion represents a savings of more than 60 percent off transportation during the spring semester compared to purchasing one-way transportation.

“The services NJ Transit provides have proven to be essential to a multitude of college students across the state, so I am pleased we are able to offer more students the Student Pass fare,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “Expanding the program to include discounts for eligible part-time students is emblematic of NJ Transit’s mission to enhance our services for all who wish to utilize public transportation.”

NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett added, “As NJ Transit ridership continues to grow, we are doing everything we can in our power to continue incentivizing transit use. Toward that end, we are pleased to expand our popular Student Pass program to include part-time students in addition to full-time students. College students using transit today will hopefully become tomorrow’s commuters.”

In Texas, VIA Metropolitan Transit is offering the VIA U-Pass to students, faculty and staff of participating local colleges and universities for the spring semester. The VIA U-Pass provides more than 100,000 university students and staff unlimited, free service on all VIA modes. The authority’s U-Pass partners include Alamo Colleges, Our Lady of the Lake University, Texas A&M University – San Antonio, University of the Incarnate Word and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

VIA Metropolitan Transit explains the program is designed to help address the challenges of the region’s student populations who face limited parking options on or near local campuses.

Calgary Transit in Alberta, Canada, implemented a change to its fare policy on Jan. 1, 2023, that allows children ages 12 and under to ride for free. The previous policy allowed children six and under to ride for free and required a fare for anyone older than six years old. Riders between the ages of 13 and 17 require youth fares, which are also extended to students between the ages of 18 to 21 with a school ID.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.