Friday, April 30, 2010

AU Gives Students SmarTrip-Enabled IDs - GW Should Follow

Last February, the Hatchet reported that American University was beginning to test a new student ID card that would give students access to the DC metro via SmarTrip.  This month, the Eagle - AU's student-run newspaper - is reporting that this successful program is being expanded to 300 AU students:
Housing and Dining will distribute 300 of these hybrid cards on a first-come, first-served basis. All non-graduating students are eligible to participate in the program.

SG has worked with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority since last June to provide a Metro discount for AU students. The pilot program will provide data on student ridership that is necessary to determine the cost of subsidizing a possible student discount. The pilot program will be in effect from April until October, according to SG President Andy MacCracken.

A 20-card pilot program has already taken place to make sure the cards work, he said.

“We’ve so far had a 100 percent success rate,” he said. “We’re moving forward with an expanded pilot program.”
So not only is AU testing a SmarTrip-student ID hybrid, but they're also considering funding a student metro discount for its students. 

I don't believe that this discount is necessary - even with the recent fare hikes, the metro is still much less expensive than taking a cab or riding the bus.  But enabling students to use their school ID cards as SmarTrip cards would make it much more convenient for students to access the metro.  And with GW currently revamping its GWorld cards to give it a tap-and-enter system similar to that used by SmarTrip cards, now is the time for GW to follow in AU's footsteps and give its students metro access on their GWorld cards.

We're not asking for a discount: we're just asking the school to take this opportunity to give students a way to easily access the metro without having to buy a separate metro card.

A Facebook group on this topic has gained 250 members in less than two weeks.  If you believe in this cause, please join us, and sign the petition expressing your support for a GWorld card with SmarTrip capabilities.

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