MBTA Semester Pass Program

The MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) is Boston’s public transit system which is made up of the subway system (called the “T”), local trains (the commuter rail) and buses that service the metropolitan area. In collaboration with the MBTA, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health offers eligible degree-seeking students during the academic year a 50% subsidized discount on their MBTA semester passes. Harvard Chan students can purchase an MBTA bus, link, or commuter rail pass by completing the MBTA Semester Pass order form online by the appropriate deadline. The cost of the MBTA Semester Pass will be charged to the student’s term bill. Once the pass is available students will receive an email to pick up their pass in Kresge G4. Please contact studentaffairs@hsph.harvard.edu with any questions.

Students must be enrolled in classes during the Spring semester
in order to be eligible for subsidized passes (March 2020 graduates are still eligible for the subsidized passes below).
Passes are for HSPH students only. GSAS students (PhD or AM Biostatistics) must order directly through GSAS by clicking here.

MBTA Semester Pass Options for Spring 2020:

(Students can purchase ONE of the following pass types)

January – May 2020 (5-month pass)
      Deadline has passed

February – May 2020 (4-month pass)
      Deadline has passed

Important Dates:

November 4, 2019 at 10am
      Order form opens for January-starting passes

December 2, 2019 at 10am
      Order form opens for February-starting passes

December 10, 2019 at 5pm
      Deadline for ordering January-starting passes

January 10, 2020 at 5pm
      Deadline for ordering February-starting passes

January 17, 2020
      Payment due for January-starting passes via Student Account

February 17, 2020
      Payment due for February-starting passes via Student Account

MBTA Semester Pass Policies:

Please read the following carefully and adhere to these policies:

  • To purchase an MBTA Semester Pass through the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, you must be enrolled for the Spring 2020 semester and receive your primary degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
  • PLEASE NOTE: If you are a PhD or AM Biostatistics (GSAS) student you MUST purchase your MBTA Semester Pass through GSAS (more information available here: https://gsas.harvard.edu/student-life/harvard-resources/mbta-semester-pass-program).
  • The Semester Pass is non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • The Semester Pass must be used by students from the School. Students may not purchase passes for friends, family, or partners.
  • Your commute to campus should be the purpose behind your purchase of an MBTA Semester Pass.
  • Your Semester Pass must be picked up before or during the first month that it is active. For example: January-start passes must be picked up by January 31st and February-start passes must be picked up by February 28th.

If a student is found to be in violation of the above policies, they will be billed for the subsidized cost of the pass that was paid by the School on their behalf as a commuting student. This difference will be added to their Student Account.

Picking Up Your MBTA Semester Pass:

  • Once the pass you purchased is available for pick-up, you will receive an email with instructions to pick up your pass at the front desk of the Kresge G4 suite.
  • The Office for Student Affairs is unable to mail MBTA Semester Passes; you must pick up your pass in person.
  • Bus and Link passes are valid for the full term (see 4-month and 5-month options above) and therefore only need to be picked up once.  Commuter rail tickets are valid on a monthly basis, and therefore a new ticket needs to be picked up each month (you will receive an email each time your new pass is available for pick-up). We encourage you to retrieve your pass as soon as possible after receiving these emails, so that you have it before its first day of service.
  • Passes not picked up within the first month of service are subject to penalty in accordance with the Pass Policies above.

4-Month Semester Pass Pricing

Link Pass (local bus and subway): $320.00 $160.00
Local Bus:  $192.00 $96.00
Inner Express Bus: $484.00 $242.00
Outer Express Bus: $596.00 $298.00
Commuter Ferry $1,168.00 $584.00
Zone 1A: $320.00 $160.00
Zone 1: $760.00 $380.00
Zone 2: $824.00 $412.00
Zone 3: $928.00 $464.00
Zone 4: $1,000.00 $500.00
Zone 5: $1,104.00 $552.00
Zone 6: $1,208.00 $604.00
Zone 7: $1,280.00 $640.00
Zone 8: $1,380.00 $690.00
Zone 9: $1,444.00 $722.00
Zone 10: $1,516.00 $758.00

5-Month Semester Pass Pricing

Link Pass (local bus and subway): $400.00 $200.00
Local Bus:  $240.00 $120.00
Inner Express Bus: $605.00 $302.50
Outer Express Bus: $745.00 $372.50
Commuter Ferry $1,460.00 $730.00
Zone 1A: $400.00 $200.00
Zone 1: $950.00 $475.00
Zone 2: $1,030.00 $515.00
Zone 3: $1,160.00 $580.00
Zone 4: $1,250.00 $625.00
Zone 5: $1,380.00 $690.00
Zone 6: $1,510.00 $755.00
Zone 7: $1,600.00 $800.00
Zone 8: $1,725.00 $862.50
Zone 9: $1,805.00 $902.50
Zone 10: $1,895.00 $947.50

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How do I pay for my MBTA Semester Pass?

A: The cost of the MBTA Semester Pass will be charged to the student’s term bill and will appear by mid-December for January-starting passes and mid-January for February-starting passes. The payment due dates are listed above under Important Dates. Please be sure that you understand the payment procedures, as unpaid charges can result in holds that affect important items like your ability to register for courses.

  • MBTA Semester Pass charges are not covered by scholarships or grant aid.
  • If you receive federal loans, please note that this funding can only be applied to your MBTA charge if you fill out the Title IV/Permission to Hold Form.
  • Payments are handled by University Student Financial Services. Please review the University Student Financial Services FAQ to learn more about payment methods. If you have questions regarding payment procedures after reviewing their FAQ page, please contact them directly at student_billing@harvard.edu or 617-495-2739.


Q: Which MBTA pass do you recommend?

A: The MBTA offers a Trip Planner resource to help you determine the best route from your home to the Harvard Chan School. The most commonly purchased passes for Harvard Chan students are the Local Bus Pass (includes unlimited travel on local buses) and the Link Pass (includes unlimited travel on local buses and subway lines).


Q: What is the difference between a Link Pass and a Zone 1A pass?

A: Both of these passes cost the same. However, the Link Pass offers unlimited travel on subway and local bus lines while the Zone 1A pass offers the same coverage as the Link Pass (subway and bus) with the addition of Zone 1A commuter rail stops. To learn which stops are included in the Zone 1A pass please visit the MBTA website. The Link Pass is picked up once and can be replaced when lost. The Zone 1A Pass is available to be picked up towards the end of each month (i.e. January’s pass will be picked up at the end of December) and cannot be replaced when lost.


Q: What happens if I lose my pass?

A: Only Bus and Link passes can be replaced by the MBTA. If you lose your Bus or Link pass email studentaffairs@hsph.harvard.edu and they will deactivate your lost pass and order you a replacement one. Typically a replacement pass arrives within 2 to 3 business days once ordered.


Q: Do you offer a discounted MBTA pass for the summer?

A: No, the MBTA administers the semester pass program only provides semester passes for the fall and spring. The summer months are not part of the program.


Q: Can I order an MBTA Semester Pass or change my current MBTA Semester Pass order after the order deadline?

A: No, deadlines are set by the MBTA so they are not flexible. Orders placed or changed after the order deadline cannot be completed. You can instead purchase a CharlieCard which you can add funds to at any underground stop or at the 7-Eleven on Huntington Avenue.