This year’s pilot came after an earlier trial in the spring of 2015 in which 100 students received pre-loaded dual-function cards. Prior to that program, UC members encountered resistance from administrators concerned with the potential integration cost and security concerns around student data.
According to Michael D. Connor, Director of Communications for Campus Services, freshmen must register their IDs online with the MBTA before adding monetary value.
Thomas J. Burr ’21 said the process of adding money to the card was both “easy” and “effective.”
“It’s just really simple,” he said. “You always got your Harvard ID on you, so if you just make a quick trip to the subway station, you don’t need to grab two cards. It just makes your life easier.”
Burr added that he hopes other classes will have the ability to integrate their IDs. “Probably all years should have it. It’s very handy,” he said.
Conner wrote in an email that the program is still “only a pilot for the freshmen class," and that he expects the MBTA to provide data on usage in the coming months.
The dual-function ID cards are one of a number of initiatives to encourage travel into the greater Boston area. In the fall of 2015, with a $30,000 budget, the Freshman Dean's Office launched “Into the Hub,” a program that plans regular social events in Boston for freshmen.
Looking ahead, Jonathan Castillo ’21 said he hopes the ID will be able to hold more features.
“I think it’s a cool idea. It makes it simpler. It makes it easier,” he said. “It would actually be really helpful if you could have a lot of stuff on that card."
—Staff writer Andrew J. Zucker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewJZucker.