The task was tall, but the School Transit Subsidy Program (STSP) team, within DDOT’s Progressive Transportation Services Administration (PTSA), could handle it: Metrobus for District students in public, charter, and private schools would be free this year. Free! Who wouldn’t want to ride for free?
To prepare for the onslaught of Travel Card ID applications, PTSA transportation planner Anthony Foster and his colleagues turned a small conference room into a center for their special operations. Mr. Foster and team, which last year managed 10,000 applications for the STSP throughout the whole 2012-2013 school year, received 12,199 applications by mid-September of the new 2013-2014 school year.
“We pulled a lot of different resources together to handle the influx,” Mr. Foster said.
The team found space to sort and assemble the applications on cabinet tops and between cubicles. They called in traffic control officers, enlisted help from Administrative Services, and recruited one temporary employee to work late evening shifts entering the data from the applications into the DDOT Travel Card ID database.
“I just like the fact that we’re helping the community, helping the children,” said Angelica Johnson, a transportation specialist, who worked on the project. “I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback from parents who say this has taken a load off of them.”
In July, less than two months before school would start, D.C. Council passed legislation to offer free Metrobus transportation Monday through Friday, from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“We all worked as a team, supporting each other,” added Joann Bassett-Lowe, another transportation specialist who worked on the project.
For more information about DDOT’s School Transit Subsidy Program, please visit the program’s website at http://ddot.dc.gov/schooltransitsubsidy.