Student MBTA Options
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is the Boston area’s mass transit system offering bus, subway, commuter rail, ferry, and paratransit service.
For most BU students, the best way to pay for trips on the MBTA is by adding value to a CharlieCard. You can then use that card to pay for individual trips on MBTA buses and trains.
|One way*||One way*|
*transfer up to two times and pay only the cost of the higher-priced service.
Where do I get a CharlieCard?
You can get a CharlieCard from any MBTA fare machine (found in underground subway stops). They’re also available from libraries and some retail locations (complete list). We sometimes have them at our offices, too. Please call to verify before stopping by (CRC at 1019 Commonwealth Ave: 617-353-2160; BUMC at 710 Albany Street: 617-638-4915)
How do I add value to a CharlieCard?
We recommend adding value online using the MBTA’s MyCharlie system. This will allow you to transfer the value on your CharlieCard if your card is lost or stolen. You can also add value at MBTA fare machines (found in underground subway stops) but you will not be able to transfer card value unless your card is registered to you via MyCharlie.
Designed for commuting students, the Semester Pass program offers an 11% discount off of the regular monthly “T” pass price. Semester Passes are rarely a good value for students living on campus.
2024 Spring Semester Passes
2024 Spring MBTA Semester Passes may now be ordered via the Transportation Management Portal between now and 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, January 10, 2024. No applications, cancellations, or refunds can be processed once the January 10th deadline has passed. You must be an enrolled full-time student to charge the Semester Pass to your student account.
MBTA Spring Semester Passes will be valid during each of the following months:
Is getting the Student Semester Pass right for me?
Semester Pass Options and Pricing
|Pass Type||Pass Price||Replaceable if lost or stolen||One Card for Entire Semester||Pass must be picked up each month|
|LinkPass (most popular)||$320.00||■||■|
|Commuter Rail Zone 1A||$320.00||■|
|Commuter Rail Zone 1||$760.00||■|
|Commuter Rail Zone 2||$824.00||■|
|Commuter Rail Zone 3||$928.00||■|
|Commuter Rail Zone 4||$1,000.00||■|
|Commuter Rail Zone 5||$1,104.00||■|
|Commuter Rail Zone 6||$1,208.00||■|
|Commuter Rail Zone 7||$1,280.00||■|
|Commuter Rail Zone 8||$1,380.00||■|
|Commuter Rail Zone 9||$1,444.00||■|
|Commuter Rail Zone 10||$1,516.00||■|
CharlieCard vs. CharlieTicket
Link, Local Bus, and Express Bus passes are issued on “CharlieCards” which are used for the whole semester and can be replaced if lost or stolen.
Commuter Rail Passes (including Zone 1A) are issued on “CharlieTickets” which must be picked up each month and cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.
LinkPass vs. Commuter Rail Zone 1A
The more convenient LinkPass is recommended for those who only need to use the subway and buses. We only recommend the Commuter Rail Zone 1A pass for those who need to use Commuter Rail and/or the Inner Harbor Ferry. If you are uncertain of which pass is best for you, more information is available online, or you can call Transportation Services at 617-353-2160 or email us and request assistance.
Applying for a Student Semester Pass
Applications, cancellations, or refunds cannot be processed after the deadline — August 10th (Fall); January 10th (Spring).
Note: Students wishing to charge their student account must be registered full-time and their student account must be in good standing to charge their account on the date of the deadline.
Students with disabilities are eligible for reduced MBTA fares. For more information, please visit the MBTA’s Transportation Access Pass page.
Note: CharlieCards issued for the Semester Pass program are only valid for the time period specified. DO NOT add a monthly pass or fare value to your CharlieCard as the card will expire when the program ends. Fall Semester Pass CharlieCards expire on December 31 and Spring Semester Pass CharlieCards expire on May 31.