Reduced Fare Programs

As part of DART’s mission to improve citizens’ quality of life in Central Iowa, DART offers a variety of reduced-fare programs to improve access to public transit for all residents. Elderly (65+), persons with disabilities, Medicare card holders, veterans with a Service Connected ID, students in middle and high school, and refugees can ride DART at a reduced rate through one of DART’s reduced fare programs. Reduced fare programs include:
 
 

Opportunities Thru Transit (OTT)

DART has partnered with the Polk County to help income eligible residents find and keep jobs through the Opportunities Thru Transit program. Those who are eligible can ride DART at a reduced rate while traveling to a job, to look for work, or to an educational or training program.
 
Who is Eligible? 
Several factors determine eligibility for the program:
Must be a resident of Polk County.
Must not be participating in DART programs offering reduced fare, including DART Paratransit service.
Must not be employed by a company that subsidizes bus passes for employees.
Must be at least 18 years old and out of high school.
Total household income must be below 125% of the federal poverty level.
Income eligibility requirements, effective February 2017, are:
1-person household – $15,075
2-person household – $20,300
3-person household – $25,525
4-person household – $30,750
5-person household – $35,975
6-person household – $41,200
7-person household – $46,425
8-person household – $51,650
 
How Do I Apply? 
Stop by DART Central Station, at 620 Cherry Street, Des Moines, and complete an application for the Opportunities Thru Transit program. DART staff will verify your income levels, so you should be prepared to present proof of your entire household income, including pay stubs and social security checks. DART staff will then review the application and verify all information.
 
You will receive a letter saying whether you meet the criteria. If you qualify, please bring a photo ID to DART Central Station to purchase your OTT bus pass each month. No personal checks will be accepted.
 
The pass gives you unlimited use of DART buses, excluding special events, for the current calendar month (from the first through the last day of the current month).
 
What are the OTT Guidelines?
  • The cost of the monthly OTT pass is $18.
  • OTT passes may be purchased with cash, money order, debit card, credit card or business/organization check. No personal checks will be accepted.
  • Neither DART nor the community center where you purchase a pass is responsible for lost or stolen OTT passes.
  • Only one pass may be purchased each month.
  • If you move, it is your responsibility to contact DART at 515-283-8100 to update your information. You will be cancelled if we cannot reach you.
  • If you do not purchase a pass within three months you will automatically be cancelled and will then have to reapply.
  • Failure to abide with guidelines will result in immediate and permanent termination from the program.
  • Participants are eligible for a maximum of three years in the OTT program.
 
If you have any questions about the OTT program or need to update your information please call DART at 515-283-8100.
 

Persons with Disabilities Program

Riders with disabilities will need to visit DART Central Station at 620 Cherry Street, Des Moines, complete an application and provide documentation of their disability. There are four ways to show eligibility:
  • Proof of Social Security disability payments from the federal government, such as a copy of award letter that states payments are being received due to disability.
  • Medicare card.
  • Have a family physician fill out the agency certification section of the application.
  • Have a veteran’s Service Connected ID.
All applicants also must show current a photo ID to be approved.
 
Once an applicant is approved, the individual will receive a purple and white DART ID card that says “Half Fare.” The card may or may not have an expiration date depending on the nature of the holder’s disability.
 
With the DART ID card, the individual is eligible to use DART services for reduced fare. The individual may purchase half-fare fare tokens, half-fare weekly or weekly passes or pay cash at a half-fare rate.
 
Certain conditions apply:
  • DART ID card and a photo ID must be shown to purchase reduced fare passes or tokens, as well as to pay reduced cash fares on buses.
  • The DART ID card is not transferable.
  • Improper use of the DART ID card will result in the loss of card privileges.
  • The DART ID cards may be used to purchase only one weekly pass per week or one monthly bus pass per month.
 
For more information about the Reduced Fare Program for Persons with Disabilities, call 515-283-8100 or visit DART Central Station at 620 Cherry Street, Des Moines.
 

Senior Citizen's Program

Individuals must be 65 years old or older to qualify for DART’s Reduced Fare Program for Senior Citizens and are required to present a current photo ID that includes a date of birth.
 
Once an applicant is approved for the program the applicant will receive a purple and white DART ID that says “Half Fare.” This ID does not expire.
 
With the DART ID card, the individual is eligible to use DART services for reduced fare. The individual may purchase half-fare fare tokens, half-fare weekly or weekly passes or pay cash at a half-fare rate.
 
Certain conditions apply:
  • DART ID card and/or a photo ID must be shown to purchase reduced fare passes or tokens, as well as to pay reduced cash fares on buses.
  • The DART ID card is not transferable.
  • Improper use of the DART ID card will result in the loss of card privileges.
  • The DART ID cards may be used to purchase only one weekly pass per week or one monthly bus pass per month.
 
For more information about the Reduced Fare Program for Senior Citizens, call 515-283-8100 or visit DART Central Station at 620 Cherry Street, Des Moines.
 

Student Program

Students of middle schools and high schools in Polk County, both public and private, are eligible to purchase DART passes at a reduced rate simply by showing their student IDs at any of DART's Pass Sales Outlets. DART offers a weekly and monthly Half-Fare/Student pass. To review pass options, please visit Fares/Passes. (NOTE: Tokens and cash are excluded from this program.) Unlike other reduced fare programs, students do not need separate IDs from DART.
 
Certain conditions apply:
  • Students must show a current year ID from a middle school or high school, public or private, within Polk County.
  • Parents may purchase passes for their children. The students do not need to be present; however, the parent must have the student's ID.
  • Students need to show their student IDs to the bus operator when boarding the bus.
  • Reduced fare passes are not transferable. 

Summer and holiday breaks: All Des Moines Public middle and high school students ride DART free with current school year ID. No sticker needed. Includes all DART service (with exception of trips costing $3.50), all hours, all days, until school resumes.  

For more information about the Reduced Fare Program for Students, call 515-283-8100 or visit DART Central Station at 620 Cherry Street, Des Moines.
 

Refugee Program

Riders can inquire about DART's Reduced Fare Program for Refugees at any of the participating refugee-service agencies.
 
Participating agencies include:
  • Bureau of Refugee Services
  • Catholic Charities
  • Iowa Department of Human Rights Office of Asian and Island Pacific Islander Affairs
  • Lutheran Services in Iowa
  • U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
  • Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa
 
Individuals will need to fill out an application and prove their refugee status with form I-94 and photo ID or green card. Eligible refugees will receive a purple and white DART ID card.
 
With the DART ID card, the individual is eligible to use DART services for reduced fare. The individual may purchase half-fare fare tokens, half-fare weekly or weekly passes or pay cash at a half-fare rate. DART ID card is valid for five years.
 
Certain restrictions apply:
  • Refugees using reduced fare passes will need to show their DART ID card to the bus operator when boarding a bus.
  • The DART ID card is not transferable.
  • Improper use of the DART ID card will result in the loss of card privileges.
  • The DART ID cards may be used to purchase only one weekly pass per week or one monthly bus pass per month.
 
For more information about the Reduced Fare Program for Refugees, call 515-283-8100 or visit DART Central Station at 620 Cherry Street, Des Moines.
 
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