Frequently Asked Questions About the T-Pass Program
View parking and T-pass FAQs specific to the Access MIT program on the Access MIT FAQ page.
How do I enroll in MIT’s subsidized MBTA public transit pass (or “T-pass”) program and get a pass?
You can enroll in the T-pass program through Atlas.
- Faculty, staff, and postdoc associates: Visit the Cambridge employee T-pass page or the Lincoln Lab employee T-pass page for enrollment instructions.
- Students: Visit the student T-pass page for enrollment instructions.
- Benefits-eligible faculty, staff, and postdoctoral associates who work on the Cambridge campus are eligible for a subsidized commuter rail or commuter boat pass (which includes a subway and bus pass); they also have free access to the subway and local bus systems without a monthly pass, by using the Access MIT pass embedded in their MIT ID. See exceptions below.
- Lexington-based employees who have payroll deductions are eligible for a subsidized T-pass.
- Postdoctoral fellows may or may not be eligible, depending on the details of their appointment, and should contact email@example.com to learn more. Learn more about the Access MIT program.
- All MIT students enrolled in a degree program are eligible for the T-pass program except cross-registered students, visiting students, and students who have campus resident parking accounts.
- Cambridge-based employees with a full-time off-campus or campus resident parking account can ride the subway and local bus for free using their MIT ID card but are not eligible to apply for a subsidized commuter rail or boat pass.
- Affiliates, spouses, children, temporary employees, and visiting scholars who are not paid by MIT are not eligible for a subsidized T-pass.
- Cross-registered students, visiting students, and any student with an off-campus parking account or a campus resident parking account are also ineligible.
- Postdoctoral fellows may or may not be eligible, depending on the details of their appointment, and should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
When a student graduates, is he or she still eligible for a subsidized T-pass?
No, only registered students who have a current bursar's account can get a subsidized T-pass.
The monthly T-passes subsidized through MIT cover several different transportation modes and a range of zones:
- Monthly Local Bus pass (bus service is free for those who have the Access MIT pass)
- Monthly LinkPass (local bus and subway, services which are free for those who have the Access MIT pass)
- Monthly Express Bus pass (local bus, express bus, and subway)
- Monthly Commuter Rail pass (commuter rail plus local bus and subway, in an expanding series of zones)
- Monthly commuter boat pass (all ferries plus local bus and subway)
- 5-Day Flex Pass for commuter rail, available to eligible Cambridge-based employees; more information here
The MBTA provides a broader range of public transit passes (not all subsidized by MIT), and you can view a list of types of T-passes here.
Can I pay by credit card, check, or cash for my subsidized T-pass?
Faculty and Staff: No, you can only pay through a payroll deduction.
Students: No, you can only pay through your bursar's (student) account.
What do pre-tax and post-tax dollars mean?
You could see two deductions on your pay stub for your T-pass: a pre-tax amount and a post-tax amount based on the current tax law. Pre-tax deductions offer a cost savings by reducing your taxable income. Pre-tax monthly deductions are limited by tax law, so a portion of your T-pass cost may be deducted from your payroll as a post-tax deduction (which doesn’t reduce your taxable income).
How far in advance do I need to purchase a T-pass?
You have to purchase the pass one month and one day in advance. Example: If you want a T-pass for the month of November, you must purchase it before the last business day in September.
Why do I need to purchase the pass one month and day in advance?
The MBTA requires that T-pass orders be submitted one month in advance.
The deadline for those months has already passed.
If I am a faculty or staff member, do I purchase a subsidized T-pass every semester or every academic year?
You enroll in the T-pass program when you purchase the first monthly pass, and your T-pass will be renewed automatically each month until you cancel it.
We have a limited number of monthly and semester passes available to sell at the beginning of the month. Because only a limited number of passes are available, they are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Subject to availability, these passes can be purchased beginning on the last three business days of the month prior to activation and up until the 1st day of the month in which the pass will be active.
If you want a prepaid October T-pass, please note the following deadline:
- The application deadline to purchase a prepaid October T-pass is August 31. A prepaid October T-pass will be available for pickup beginning on the last three business days of September.
The Flex Pass is available for purchase exclusively on the MBTA’s mTicket mobile app, and eligible Cambridge-based employees may purchase the pass directly and then seek a 50% reimbursement from MIT. The pass provides five round-trip tickets (discounted 10% by the MBTA) for commuter rail travel, good at any time during the 30-day period following the purchase. To access MIT’s additional 50% subsidy, upload your Flex Pass purchase receipt(s) to the Transit/Parking Reimbursement smart form on Atlas and submit them on a monthly basis. Reimbursement is only available to participants who do not have an active MIT-subsidized monthly T-pass. More information.
Note that a Flex Pass can be purchased directly at any time, but the MIT-subsidized monthly T-pass is a more cost-effective option if you are likely to need more than two Flex Passes in a single month.
How do I cancel or suspend a T-pass?
To cancel or suspend your MBTA public transit pass:
- Visit Atlas by noon on the 15th day of the month before the month you want to suspend or cancel (i.e., by August 15 to suspend September, etc.)
- Click “About Me” in the top navigation bar, then click “Commuting Benefits” in the left-hand navigation
- In the MBTA T-Pass Subsidy block, click “Manage Account”
- Choose Cancel or Suspend
- If you wish to suspend your pass, click the “Suspended from” and “Resume on” drop-down boxes, enter the months and click “Save.”
- If you wish to cancel your pass, click the “Cancel from” drop-down box, click on the month, and click “Save.”
Please note that the Access MIT chip embedded in most employee’s MIT IDs enables free, unrestricted use of the local bus and subway systems, and there is never any need to cancel it. However, if you are canceling or suspending a monthly T-pass, but you still want access to the local bus and subway systems, you will need to get a new MIT ID card with an activated Access MIT chip.
What is the difference between canceling a T-pass and suspending a T-pass?
Canceling a T-pass permanently closes your T-pass account. Suspending a T-pass allows you to temporarily stop your T-pass from automatically renewing, and you may resume renewal of the pass at a later date.
- Note that T-pass accounts can be only be suspended for up to three months and no longer. If you suspect that you will not be returning to campus for three months or longer, consider canceling your LinkPass or Commuter Rail Pass. To reactivate your pass or order a new one, you will need to place the order at least one month and one day in advance of the month you need. You can also email Robynn Cruz-Walker for assistance.
How far in advance do I need to cancel or suspend my T-pass account?
You have to cancel or suspend your T-pass account on or before the 15th of the previous month. Example: If you want to cancel your T-pass account starting in July, you must cancel your account no later than June 15.
When I cancel or suspend my commuter rail pass, can I go back to using the AccessMIT chip on my employee ID?
If you would like to use the Access MIT chip in your employee ID to access the subway/bus after canceling your commuter rail pass, you must get a new copy of your employee ID with an active chip. There is no charge for this.
If you would like to use the chip in your ID for subway/bus after suspending your commuter rail pass, you must get a new copy of the ID. A replacement ID will cost $25.
Contact email@example.com or go to the Atlas Service Center in person to get a new copy of your ID.
How do I resume my T-pass account after suspending it?
You can resume your T-pass account after suspending it by going through Atlas and making the request one month and one day before you want the T-pass to be activated. Your old pass will no longer work, and you will need to pick up a new pass from the Atlas Service Center during the last three business days of the month prior to activation or on the first business day of the month in which that pass will be active.
How do I change information, cancel, or suspend my T-pass after I submitted my application?
You can perform these actions through Atlas.
Please note that you must submit your cancellation or suspension request by the 15th of a month in order for the change to take effect the following month. Any other change must be made one month and one day in advance.
No, it's your responsibility to cancel your account.
T-passes ordered online through Atlas are available for pick up at the Atlas Service Center (E17-106) from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM during the last three business days of the month prior to activation and any time during the month or semester in which that pass is active.
Can someone pick up my T-pass for me?
Yes. The person who picks up your T-pass for you must bring the following items:
- His or her MIT ID
- Your MIT ID or a photocopy of your MIT ID
- A letter from you authorizing that person to sign for the pass
Students must pick up their T-pass at the Atlas Service Center (E17-106).
Employees may choose to have their T-pass mailed to their home or office. Please note, the Parking & Transportation Office is not responsible for T-passes that get lost in the USPS mail system.
Can I pick up my T-pass in the middle of the month?
Yes, if you have paid for it. Your T-pass will be held for you in the Atlas Service Center (E17-106). Please keep in mind that there are no partial or full refunds, and you will be charged the full monthly cost no matter when you pick it up.
Yes, you will be charged for it if you haven’t canceled it.
If I lose my T-pass, can it be replaced?
- The Parking and Transportation office can provide a replacement pass for a lost monthly bus, monthly subway/bus, or semester pass for a fee of $25.00 (students and Lexington employees).
- Similarly, Cambridge employees who lose their MIT ID and its Access Pass will also be charged $25 for a replacement.
- Lost or stolen commuter rail, express bus, or commuter boat passes must be replaced at an MBTA station where passes are sold and will be replaced at the MBTA rate with no discount.
The Parking Office is not responsible for replacing T-passes that get lost in the USPS mail system.