Photo by PoPville flickr user kristenstake
“Good news for Metro riders in the New Year. Starting today, the federal transit benefit for public transportation will nearly double to $255 per month. Now transit riders will have the same tax benefits as those who drive and park.
The increase, approved by Congress last month and signed by President Obama, permanently raised the pre-tax and tax-free commuter benefit making it more affordable to use public transportation. More than half of Metro’s weekday riders use the transit benefit, which provides a subsidy to federal workers and allows employees at businesses to set aside pre-tax earnings to pay for transit.
The benefit will have a significant impact on Metro riders:
67% of morning peak trips are by someone who receives a transit benefit
More than 5,200 employers provide SmartBenefits ®, which allows the transit benefit to be loaded directly to an employee’s SmarTrip® card
Approximately 253,000 employees in the region receive SmartBenefits
The commuter benefit for public transportation fell two years ago, to $130 per month, and was a contributing factor in a decline in Metro ridership. Increasing the benefit level to $255 covers the total monthly commuting costs for most Metro riders.“