Access MIT FAQ
How do I get an ID card with the free MBTA subway and local bus pass chip in it?
New employees on the Cambridge campus will automatically receive an MIT ID card with an MBTA CharlieCard chip embedded in it and can use it at any time for free subway and local bus fares. Employees with older ID cards can upgrade their IDs at the MIT Card Office in the Atlas Service Center, Building E17-106.
The new ID card will provide Cambridge campus benefits-eligible employees with free subway and local bus passes. The MBTA pass program is part of Access MIT, which is a broad initiative launched in June 2016 to change the culture of commuting and transportation on campus and minimize our impact on our environment by encouraging the use of low-carbon forms of transportation whenever possible. The new MIT IDs have CharlieCard chips embedded in them to ensure that public transit is always an easy, accessible and free alternative to driving. Any MIT ID issued to Cambridge employees after June 2016 already has a CharlieCard chip embedded in it.
What about privacy and tracking? I’m concerned about who has access to this information if I get an ID card with an MBTA chip embedded in it.
Other than containing an MBTA pass, your new ID will collect and treat information in exactly the same way as your old ID card. Local bus and subway usage data will be used by the MBTA to periodically calculate costs and invoice MIT. All information collection, storage, and use will continue to be governed by MIT policy.
Can I use the T pass for trips other than to commute to MIT? And can I use it outside of work hours?
Yes, you can use your T pass to go anywhere, anytime, for whatever reason! MIT does not impose any restrictions on the pass.
If I buy a commuter rail pass, do I still get a free bus/subway pass on my ID card?
The commuter rail pass includes the bus and subway service, so you will not need a separate Access MIT pass.
I’ve never traveled on the MBTA before. Can you provide information for me to plan my commute using public transportation?
- Check out AccessMyCommute on Atlas: visit the Atlas site and choose “About Me” on the top navigation menu, and “Commuting Benefits” in the left hand menu, then click on the “AccessMyCommute” link at the top of the page.
- Visit the Rider Tools available on the MBTA website, including a Trip Planner.
Is MIT doing anything to improve service on subway and bus lines?
As part of our ongoing relationship with the MBTA, MIT will continue to advocate for improved services and collaborate on strategies to address challenges.
With the changes to parking, will I still have a parking account and be assigned to a designated area?
Yes, parkers at MIT will still need to have a parking account and will be assigned to designated parking areas.
Will I pay more per year if I park every day using an occasional parking permit?
No. MIT will cap your total cost at the annual parking account rate, so you won’t pay more than you do for the traditional annual parking program. Once you hit the annual cap, you can continue to park but will no longer be charged a fee.
How do I get reimbursed for parking at the commuter rail station?
Upload receipts to the Transit Reimbursement smart form on Atlas and submit them on a monthly basis.
If I get a new ID with a Charlie chip in it, can I still submit for bike commuter benefits?
No. Unfortunately, IRS regulations stipulate that you can only participate in one of these subsidy programs at a time. Review the cost savings of both options and choose the one that works best for you.
If I switch from annual to pay-per-day parking, how will it affect my monthly parking cost?
You will only be charged a daily rate for the number of days you park, up to the annual cap. You only pay for what you use, so if you take a sick day (or decide to commute by T!) then you won’t incur a fee for that day, and your total monthly cost will be less. With an annual parking contract, you would pay your standard monthly rate whether you used the services once, or every day.
Do I get any new benefits if I work at Lincoln Lab, or another off-site location?
This program is currently available to Cambridge campus faculty and staff in order to enhance public transit options in this dense urban area. However, Lincoln Lab employees will now be reimbursed up to 50% at MBTA commuter lots.
If I’m a student, do I receive a free MBTA pass as part of this program?
Currently, this program is being funded through the MIT employee benefits program and only Cambridge campus benefits-eligible employees can participate. Students will continue to receive a 50% subsidy on their monthly Link Pass. Students also have a Charlie Chip in their ID that they can add value to.
What about Post-Docs, do they receive the free MBTA benefit?
Yes, all postdoctoral scholars (Post-Doc Associates and Post-Doc Fellows) are eligible to receive the free MBTA benefit.
Are you measuring the impact of this program?
Yes. In collaboration with the MIT Transit Lab, we will study the overall impact of these changes on our campus and surrounding community. We hope that our research-based approach will provide unique insight into the effectiveness of Access MIT and position us as a leader in smart, low-carbon commuting programs. We encourage you to explore public transportation options, even a few days a month, as reduction in car trips to campus will lower MIT’s commuter-related emissions, ease parking demand, and reduce our contribution to traffic congestion.
How do these new programs affect people with disabilities?
The Parking and Transportation Office works closely with MIT Medical to consider specific needs and access issues.