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A transit pass, (which can be referred by different names depending on the operator, such as bus pass) is a ticket that allows a passenger of the service take either a certain number of pre-purchased trips, or unlimited trips within a fixed period of time. Depending on the transport network and the amount of use of the pass that is made, the pass may offer varying discounts compared with trips that are purchased individually.

While transit passes can generally be purchased at full price by anyone wishing to use the services (senior citizens, the disabled, students, and some others are often able to get them at a reduced price), many employers, colleges, and universities will subsidize the cost of them, or sometimes the full amount. Some public transport networks will allow certain types of personnel, including police officers, fire fighters, active military, and their own employees to ride their services for free with proper identification and without the need to purchase a pass.

Contents

Types of passes

Some common forms of transit passes are:

  • Day pass - offers unlimited rides for day of purchase. Usually available for purchase on the bus being boarded.
  • Weekly pass - allows for unlimited rides for a seven-day period. While some networks allow for the pass to be purchased for any seven-day period, others only offer these passes for the same range of seven days (usually either Sunday thru Saturday or Monday thru Sunday).
  • Monthly pass - allows for unlimited rides for an entire month. Since months vary in length, the discount for the use of such a pass varies each month. Some networks allow the pass to be used for a specified 30- or 31-day period that does not necessarily have to start on the first of the month.
  • Annual pass - Allows for unlimited rides for the entire year, and usually offers a higher discount than the monthly pass.
  • Multi-trip tickets - a bundle of single trips purchased for a fare that is often reduced per trip. Historically, these have often been in the form of tokens, but tokens are being discontinued in many places in favor of more high-tech methods of fare collection.

Transfers

Many companies offer transfers that allow the rider who pays for a single-trip fare to continue the trip on another bus or train. Depending on the network, there may or may not be an additional fee for the transfer. Most transfers are stamped or hole-punched with the time, date, and direction of travel to prevent their use for a return trip.

Some public transport companies may honor transfers purchased from another company with connecting service.

Examples of transit passes

Some examples of transit passes available from various geographic are as follows:

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New York City

On New York City Transit, a one-way fare is currently $2.25 per trip, and allows for free transfers between buses and subway. Day passes (known as fun passes) can be purchased for $7, providing unlimited rides on the system. Weekly passes are $24, and monthly passes are $81. Multi-trip Metrocards are also available that provide 6 rides for the cost of 5 ($10), or 12 rides for the cost of 10 ($20). Further information of New York MTA fares can be found here.

Washington, D.C. area

While fares for individual trips vary, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority offers various passes for riding bus and Metrorail. A seven-day regular fare pass for unlimited Metrorail rides is $39, but this cannot be used on buses. A one-day pass is available for $7.80, but on weekdays, this is not valid until after 9:30 AM. A weekly Metrobus pass is available for $11 at regular fare, and it cannot be used on Metrorail.

Riders of Metrorail can obtain transfers to Metrobus, but those initially boarding Metrobus cannot transfer to Metrorail without paying an additional fare. Those transferring between any two Metrorail lines can change trains without exiting the gate, thereby incurring no additional fare or requiring a transfer slip.

Transfers are honored both ways between Metrobus and Montgomery County's Ride-on bus service. Ride-on accepts transfers from Metrorail for an additional 35¢ (waived for senior citizens), but there are no transfers from Ride-on buses to Metrorail.

For $80 more than the price of a MARC train monthly ticket, a Transit Link Card granting unlimited Metrorail and Metrobus trips for the month of the MARC ticket can be purchased. MARC monthly passes are also honored as fare payment for all Maryland Transit Administration bus, Metro and Light Rail services in the Baltimore area at no extra cost.

The Maryland Transit Administration within the Baltimore area generally charges $1.60 for a single trip on one local bus or train. The agency abolished transfers in 1996 in favor of day passes, which at the time were $3.00 and are currently $3.50. Those taking multi-bus/train trips are encouraged to purchase day passes, which at regular fare, are the cost of two one-way trips plus 30¢. Weekly and monthly passes are also available, and all such passes since 2005 have been called "GO-passes." The only transfers that are allowed in the system without additional fare payment are between the various lines of the light rail.

For further reading on WMATA fares, see here. For Baltimore area MTA fares, see here.

New Orleans

In New Orleans, both transfers and day passes are available. A transfer may be purchased for 25¢ in addition to the $1.25 base fare. Day passes can be purchased for $5.00 when boarding any bus or streetcar. Additionally, passes valid for a 3-day period can be purchased for $12.00 at a limited number of locations[1].

Martha's Vineyard

In Martha's Vineyard, a rare annual pass is offered in addition to passes valid for one, three, seven, or thirty-one days. The cost of an annual pass is $100 for adults and $50 for students. All other types of passes are available at adult prices only[2].

Winnipeg

Winnipeg Transit offers free transfers with all base fares, and these transfers are valid for up to 60 minutes from the time of fare payment in what is termed power hour by the agency. The transfer is honoured on any line in the system, but the agency allows the transfer to be used for a return trip on the same line within the hour. The agency also offers weekly and monthly passes and 10-trip tickets[3].

Seattle region

Sound Transit, King County Metro, Community Transit, and Pierce Transit offers free transfers, and these transfers are good for a minimum of 90 minutes after the trip's end. When transfers are used on the issuing system, the user gets full credit for the amount paid on the issuing service. When used on a partner system, the transfer is valid for the base fare on that system. Each agency still issues their own transfers, but the letter and color are synchronized, allowing for operators to easily recognize valid transfers. The agency also issues universal passes, known as PugetPasses or the ORCA Card. In addition to the agencies listed above, Everett Transit and Intercity Transit accept these passes for face value.

Greyhound

Greyhound Lines offers the Discovery Pass which allows unlimited travel in the United States or Canada for a period of time purchased, which may be 7, 15, 30, or 60 days. There is a greater discount per trip for passes purchased for longer periods[4]

UK

The new English National Concessionary Bus Travel Scheme bus pass.

In England anyone over the age of 60 and people with certain disabilities get to travel free on most public buses throughout the country at certain time (typically 9:30am to 11pm). Some councils also allow these people to travel for free on trains, Trams or Ferries. This scheme was also introduced in Scotland in April 2006, with Wales issuing them even earlier in 2002. Northern Ireland runs a similar scheme but the age limit is 66 year or older.

See also

References


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