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Fairfax Connector considers making buses fare-free for all kids under 12

Fairfax County Connector in Reston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Fairfax Connector could be free for all children ages 12 and under.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s current policy is kids under 5 years old do not need to pay a fare. The new policy would extend that to all children under 12.

Older children can already get a free student bus pass: all Fairfax County middle and high school students can ride on all Fairfax County routes and some Metrobus routes for free between 5 a.m.-10 p.m. with a student bus pass. The transportation department said in a presentation the change would “close a gap” in the county’s fare-free policy for kids.

Those children would still obviously need to be accompanied by a fare-paying adult to receive a free fare.

In a presentation, the Department of Transportation said there are several potential benefits to the change.

  • Closes the gap in fare-free travel for children between ages 5-12
  • Increases accessibility and removes barriers to travel for parents. Especially beneficial for trips to access medical or social services
  • This change will help children become acclimated to using public transit from an early age thereby creating increased transportation alternatives

FCDOT is collecting feedback on the proposed change until next Friday, March 10.

The policy change is scheduled to be presented to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on April 11. If approved, it would take effect on April 30.

Fairfax Connector launched a pilot last month allowing low-income riders to get half-price fares.

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