New MBTA Pass Discount for Employees

Starting in September, Boston University will provide an MBTA pass subsidy to regular faculty and staff who order a monthly T-pass through BU.

This new benefit, available to employees on the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus, will mean a hefty savings to those who use the MBTA. Employees buying a Local Bus, Inner Express, Outer Express, Subway (LinkPass), or Commuter Rail Zone 1A pass will receive a 35 percent subsidy, and those purchasing a Commuter Rail Zones 1-10 or Boat pass are eligible for a 50 percent subsidy.

“By offering a subsidy to reduce individual costs of commuting by bus, subway, train, or boat, we hope to provide employees who are driving alone the opportunity to make a different choice and assist employees who already use these services to continue doing so,” says Peter Smokowski, University vice president for auxiliary services.

Diane Tucker, BU’s chief human resources officer, says the program is similar to those already in place at MIT, Harvard, and other schools in the Boston area.

After the subsidy from BU is applied to the monthly pass, the remaining cost of the pass will be paid through a pretax deduction, up to $255 per month. The deadline to enroll for a September pass has been extended to August 14. Going forward, orders for, and changes to, a pass must be submitted by the 10th calendar day of the preceding month.

If an employee has a recurring pass order or has already placed an MBTA pass order for September, the subsidy will automatically be applied. To sign up for a new MBTA pass, Charles River Campus employees can use BUworks Central; Medical Campus employees can enroll through the Boston University TranSComm office.

Employees using the MBTA subsidy benefit are also eligible for the Guaranteed Ride Home program, a service that allows up to six free taxi rides home a year for employees with an MBTA pass who have unscheduled overtime or a personal or family emergency requiring them to leave work quickly (register here for this service).

One thing to note—to be eligible for the University’s MBTA subsidy, faculty and staff cannot simultaneously hold a University parking permit (with the exception of Red pay-on-entry permits).

Smokowski says that taking the T to work can save some employees who now drive more than $1,000 per year.

University sustainability director Dennis Carlberg says the new subsidy is great news for both the school and the environment, with multiple benefits. “While it will reduce costs for employees and reduce parking congestion, it will also reduce our environmental footprint,” he says. “With fewer cars on the road, our air will be cleaner and less heat trapping greenhouse gases will be produced. The most important thing now is getting high participation. What matters is that our faculty and staff take advantage of this initiative.”

Learn more about the Charles River Campus employee MBTA passes here. Learn more about the Medical Campus employee MBTA passes here.

This story originally appeared in BU Today on 8/4/16.

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