Arlington Recognizes Transit Equity Day with ART Pilot Programs – Official Site of the Arlington County Government in Virginia
Published on February 04, 2022
On February 4, 2022, Arlington County recognizes Transit Equity Day to celebrate the life and legacy of Rosa Parks on her birthday. Transportation is essential to ensure that all Arlington residents can live, work, learn and play in the community.
This year, the county is launching two pilot programs — the Low-Income Fare Assistance Pilot and the APS Student Fare-Less Pilot — providing free bus access to thousands of students and low-income residents who have been financially and logistically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These two pilot programs help further the mission of Realizing Arlington’s Commitment to Equity (RACE), which includes promoting racial equity to reduce and prevent disparities in our service to the community,” said Samia Byrd, Deputy Director of the County, Director of Racing and Equity. . “Even though the law is no longer unequal, systemic barriers still exist. Our examination of transit through an equity lens is to look at access based on need (meeting people where they are) and to work to remove these barriers. Through this, we aim to honor Rosa Parks’ legacy – equal treatment and fair access to public transportation for all.”
With funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, Arlington provides 2,400 middle and high school students with iRide SmarTrip prepaid cards, good for use on Arlington Transit (ART) for the next 18 months. IRide cards were designed specifically for Arlington students, offering half-price ART travel while also working on Metrorail and Metrobus lines.
Collaboration with Arlington Public Schools
The new APS Student Fare-Less pilot expands the collaboration with Arlington Public Schools (APS) and focuses on students whose transportation issues often cannot be resolved by yellow bus service. Among the difficulties: living at the ends of a large walking area and taking immersion or other programs outside their home school zone.
Transportation staff will use data from the No-Charge Student Fare Pilot to study peak usage and other ridership patterns for future expansion and program modifications.
Improving transport access to employment
For some residents, the ART bus system is essential for getting to and from work sites. The second pilot project, Low-Income Fare Assistance, will provide free public transit to work for approximately 7,200 residents already enrolled in social service programs for families in the community.
Participants in this pilot project will receive SmarTrip cards preloaded with $150 to use over the next 18 months. In addition to riding on ART, the cards can be used to travel beyond Arlington on Metrobus and Metrorail.
APS will help coordinate the distribution of free student transit passes, while the county Department of Human Services (DHS) will coordinate outreach for adult transit passes.
ART Transit Service COVID Updates
ART, the county’s local bus transit system, suspended all fares in March 2020 and reinstated them in January 2021. ART resumed operation of all bus routes without seat capacity restrictions in September 2021, reinstating four peak-hour lines only suspended in March 2020. Face masks are still mandatory on the ART and all regional public transport.
About Transit Fairness Day
Every year, Transit Fairness Day is celebrated on February 4 to honor the life and legacy of Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks became a key figure in the civil rights era when she refused to give up her seat on a segregated transit bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and was arrested in 1955. Her actions sparked the boycott Montgomery buses and the United States Supreme Court decision declaring segregation. in unconstitutional buses. The actions and legacy of Rosa Parks are intrinsically linked to the concept of transit equity for all.
Learn more about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott at the Library of Congress.