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Access MIT FAQ

MIT ID card
Public transportation services
Parking permit impacts
Rates, fees, and reimbursements
Access MIT pass

MIT ID card

How do I get a new ID card with a chip in it?

Starting in June, the Parking and Transportation Office will offer onsite visits to departments to swap IDs for current Cambridge campus MBTA pass holders and parkers. New IDs will be activated when issued, so credentials and permissions will transfer and faculty and staff will have immediate access to their MBTA benefits. Visit the Access MIT page to view the schedule of on-site visits. Those who miss the on site visit can upgrade their IDs at the MIT Card Office in Building E17-106 after their department's scheduled on site date.

Why do I need to get a new ID card?

The new ID card will provide Cambridge campus benefits-eligible employees with free subway and local bus passes. The new MBTA pass program is part of Access MIT, which is a broad initiative 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.

Do I have to exchange my ID card if I don’t want to?

No, you are not required to exchange your ID. If you keep your old ID card then you will not have access to the new benefit. Staff who use the MBTA can continue to use a separate T-pass and would continue to be billed 50% of the cost of the pass.

If I am a parking coordinator, can I bring multiple ID cards from my department to get them swapped during an on-site visit from the Parking and Transportation Office?

Yes, you can.

What if I wasn’t sent an email about replacing my ID Card on-site? Can I still get a new ID card with the T-Pass embedded it?

Yes, you can visit the Card Office.

Do people with mobility passes need to change their IDs?

If you were part of the mobility pass trial program, and continue to receive free bus and subway on your MIT ID then you do not need to exchange your ID.

If I wasn’t part of the mobility pass program but my MIT ID acts as a Charlie Card, do I have to replace it?

For Cambridge campus benefits-eligible employees: If your MIT ID currently acts as a pay-as-you-go Charlie Card that you add value to, you must exchange your ID to get the free Access MIT benefit. The new card will have a different type of chip.

Can people go to E17 if they want a new picture on their ID Card?

For current T-pass holders and parkers, your ID card will be pre-printed with the photo we have on file. We are doing this to ease the waiting time during on-site visits and at the card office. If you wish to change your photo, you can visit the card office to review your options.

What about privacy and tracking? I’m concerned about who has access to this information if I get a new ID card with an MBTA chip.

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.

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Public transportation services

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 receive 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.

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With the changes to parking, will I still have a parking sticker and designated area?

Yes, you will still have a parking sticker and have a designated area.

What parking areas will change to occasional / pay-per-day only?

The following gated lots on the MIT campus will change to occasional / pay-per-day lots on September 2016:

  • North Area: Albany Garage and N10 Lots
  • Northeast Area: Stata Garage
  • Sloan Area: East Garage at E62
  • Economy Area: West Lot, Westgate Lot

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 permit 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.

Will my parking assignment change? How will the process for obtaining new parking permits work?

The permit renewal process will remain the same. If you renew within the renewal period, your assigned lot will remain the same. If you park in one of the lots that is changing to occasional permits only, that change will happen automatically for you when you renew.

Is economy parking still available?

Yes, on a pay-per-day basis.

If I usually get an annual economy parking pass, how will my rates change?

You will now receive an economy occasional pass. The cost will be $200 for the permit ($100 for a renewal before July 28, 2017) plus a $5 daily rate. View the new parking rates.

What is the annual cap for economy parkers?

The cap for FY18 will be set at $1900 (the price of an annual permit in 2017-2018).

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Rates, fees, and reimbursements

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.

How is the initial $100 parking fee billed for employees who are paid weekly?

$25 is deducted once every week for four weeks.

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.

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Access MIT pass

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 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.

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 Your Commuting Benefits (Atlas)
 Charles River TMA
 Commuting Calculator
 Parking Brochure 2017-2018 (pdf)
 WG Commuting Task Group


Department Directory

Parking & Transportation Office

Hours: M - F, 8AM - 5PM
Phone: 617-258-6510
Phone (after hours): 617-253-2997
Fax: 617-258-6357
Building: E17-106

Tom Giannino

Robynn Cruz-Walker
Commuter Program Administrator

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