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Additional COVID-19 Guidance - National Capital Region

Federal Transit Subsidy During COVID-19 in the National Capital Region (NCR)

Agency transit benefit managers and participants have questions on the use of transit benefits during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency.  In most agencies, the majority of employees are teleworking but there is still a segment of each agency’s workforce that is required to commute from their home to their work location to perform onsite essential duties.  This document provides information on how transit benefit participants located in the National Capital Region should manage their monthly transit benefit.

Transit Benefit recipients have a responsibility to manage their transit benefit. Under normal monthly commuting scenarios, participants adjust their transit benefit to best reflect their commuting situation. Sometimes it is most cost effective for employees to switch from a monthly to a weekly or daily pass. During this time when most employees are teleworking, transit benefit recipients should continue to take an active role in managing their transit benefit amount and purchase only what is needed.  

Participants are reminded that transit benefits are to be used exclusively for commutes from home to work and work to home.  Participants who have renewable monthly orders with local transit authorities may need to temporarily alter or suspend such orders.  Participants should contact their local transit authority for more information.

NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION APPLICATIONS: 

  • No application update by a current transit benefit participant is required at this time due to temporary changes in telework.  
  • New enrollments, record changes, or program withdrawals to transit benefit applications should be submitted and will continue to be processed within normal time frames.

NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION – MODE OF TRANSPORTATION: 

  • WMATA:
    • April funds have been loaded to SmarTrip cards as normal and are available to those who are required to commute in April.  If you are not commuting to work, do not use those funds.  Unused funds will be swept at the end of the month and returned to your agency. 
    • WMATA is running on a more limited route and schedule. Be sure to check their website before riding.
  •  VRE, MARC, and Maryland MTA Buses Refunds:
    • Depending on how you purchased your ticket, please visit the appropriate site for your transit provider’s refund policy.  Participants should seek to receive the maximum refund. The sites are:
  • Commuter Direct will be emailing its auto-pay / reoccurring billing customers this week regarding their needs for a May monthly pass.  Please be on the lookout for this email from CommuterDirect.com.  If you are a Commuter Direct auto-pay/ reoccurring billing customer and do not receive an email, please contact them directly through this link:  https://www.commuterdirect.com/help/?system=1
  • VRE, MARC, and Maryland MTA Buses are running on limited schedules and routes. Be sure to check their website before riding.
  • Vanpools:
    • Vanpool participants should consult directly with their vanpool coordinator/ operator for guidance during this time. 
    • Transit benefits should only be used when actively riding in vanpools for needed home to work and work to home commuting.
    • Participants should disable autopay/reoccurring billing and only pay for needed home to work and work to home commuting.

To remain up-to-date on WMATA and other major transit authorities in the area regarding any additional impacts to mass transit service during this time, transit benefit participants should visit their web site.  The most common commuting links follow: 

Questions in reference to this document should be directed to TRANServe@dot.gov

Updated: Wednesday, April 15, 2020
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