FREE Youth Ride Program

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Did you know that you can ride CAT for free if you are under the age of 18?  As part of CAT's youth program to encourage transit use, CAT has expanded its summer youth ride program to offer youths free rides year round!

Youths between the ages of 13 and 17 can ride free with a valid Youth Smart Card (see "Obtaining a Youth Smart Card"  below).  The card will allow the student to ride any CAT bus free of charge until December 31st of the year they turn 18.

Youths under the age of 13 can simply board the bus without the need for a special ID.

OBTAINING A YOUTH SMART CARD

To obtain a Youth Smart Card, you'll need to visit CAT's Downtown Transit Station located at 615 E Water Street, Charlottesville VA 22902. 

A picture of a sample youth cardThe station issues cards Monday through Saturday from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM. 

When visiting the station, you will need to bring both a legal guardian and birth certificate or state ID.* Your legal guardian will need to fill out the necessary paperwork to obtain the smart card.

The first Youth Smart Card is free.  Replacement Youth Smart Cards for lost, damaged, or stolen cards cost $10.

HOW TO USE YOUR NEWLY ACQUIRED YOUTH SMART CARD

When boarding the bus, hold your Youth Smart Card against the farebox's smart card reader.  After you hear the acceptance tone, you may proceed to find a seat.

RULES OF THE ROAD

For your safety, and the safety of others we ask that you abide by these
simple rules.

A picture showing what isn't allowed on CAT buses

  • No smoking, eating, or drinking.
  • No profanity or excessive noise.
  • Remain in your seat while the bus
    is in motion.
  • The aisleway must remain clear.
  • Earphones must be used with audio
    devices.
  • Consecutive loop riding is prohibited.

WANT TO BRING YOUR BIKE ON BOARD?

You can with CAT!  All CAT buses are equipped to carry two bicycles. Racks
are located on the front of each bus.

A diagram that shows how to load a bicycle on a bus

ARE YOU INTO SOCIAL MEDIA?

Find us on Facebook!  Our Facebook friends are always the first to find out
about route detours and schedule changes.

 

FAQs

When am I required to get a Youth Smart Card?
Youths 13 years of age or older are required to hold a Youth Smart Card.  Failure to hold a Youth Smart Card will result in paying a full adult fare.

Can I let my friend use my Youth Smart Card?
No.  Your card is uniquely customized for your personal use.  Failure to use the card as intended may result in its confiscation.

Do I need to be a Charlottesville or Albemarle county resident to participate? 
No!  The program is open to all youths under the age of 18.  Youths who may not live in the area but visit regularly are encouraged to obtain a Youth Smart Card.

I lost my ID.  Can I get another one?
Yes!  You will need to visit the Downtown Transit Station to obtain another Youth Smart Card.  There is a $10 fee for replacement IDs.  Once replaced, your previously issued card will be deactivated.

*Charlottesville City School Students may obtain a Youth Smart Card without a legal guardian.  Eligible students must present a valid Charlottesville School ID to station staff to obtain a pass.