Frequently Asked Questions

Questions?

For assistance with issues related to your transit pass:

WageWorks

Phone Icon(877) 924.3967
Access code is the last
four digits of your HUID

CommuterChoice

Phone Icon(617) 384.7433

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Faculty/Staff/Postdocs

With few exceptions, benefits eligible faculty, staff, and postdocs who work 17.5 hours or more and are paid directly by Harvard University are eligible for transportation benefits covering TransitCarpoolVanpoolBike Benefit and Parking. Eligible faculty, staff, and postdocs may utilize one stand-alone benefit at a time but may switch between options during the year.

Harvard-affiliated faculty, staff, and postdocs may also sign up for discounted annual memberships with Blue Bikes and Zipcar and may ride the Harvard and M2 Shuttle for free.

Please note that the carpool program for employees located at the Longwood campus is run through MASCO, not CommuterChoice.

Please contact commuterchoice@harvard.edu with any eligibility questions.

Student

Students are eligible for discounted annual memberships with Blue Bikes and Zipcar and may ride the Harvard and M2 Shuttle for free. There is no MBTA subsidy for undergraduates, and some graduate schools offer an MBTA student semester pass.

Vendor/Consultant/Contractor

Parking is available for vendors, consultants and contractors. For all other transportation benefits  please check with your employer. Vendors, consultants and contractors do not qualify for discounted carpool parking.

What is the transit benefit?

Benefits eligible faculty, staff, and postdocs paid directly by Harvard may purchase MBTA monthly passes for a 50% discount.

How do faculty, staff, and postdocs order transit products?

Eligible faculty, staff, and postdocs with a Harvard ID and PIN can order transit products via the online ordering platform or over the phone by calling 1.877.924.3967 (use the last 4 digits of your Harvard ID as the employee code). By doing so, you authorize Harvard to payroll deduct your portion of the cost of the order. Refer to the How To section of our Transit webpage for guidance on placing your order online.

Persons with disabilities having a valid TAP (Transportation Access Pass) ID may purchase the monthly MBTA Senior/TAP pass through Harvard’s online ordering system.

What are the ordering deadlines?

The ordering deadline is the fourth day of the month prior to the month of use. For example, order your pass online by 11:30PM on March 4th for April usage. Because of the automated nature of the process there is no way to circumvent these deadlines.

When can I start ordering my transit product?

New faculty, staff, and postdocs should allow 6-8 weeks from the start of their employment to receive their first transit product. To expedite the process, log into the online ordering platform as soon as possible; try logging in after 3PM on the Friday of your first week at Harvard. Faculty and staff hired through ASPIRE automatically enter the payroll system as an “ineligible” pay category. The transition to a “paid” pay category normally occurs with receipt of your first paycheck. If you receive an error message at your initial login, this switch probably has not occurred. Every Thursday evening Harvard sends an eligibility file to Wage Works so by Friday at 3PM faculty and staff should try to login and place the order. If unsuccessful, continue to try on consecutive Friday afternoons and again until 11:30PM of the first of the month, as Harvard also sends an eligibility file on the last day of each month.

For instructions on ordering your transit pass through the WageWorks site, please refer to the guidance in the How To section of our Transit webpage

How do I change or cancel my transit order?

Visit the online ordering platform and  click the MODIFY OR CANCEL ORDER button, then cancel your order at the bottom of the screen. To change your pass type, you will need to cancel your current order and then re-enroll and select the new pass type you want to receive. Please note that changes or cancelations are subject to the ordering deadline of the fourth day of the month prior to the month of use. For example, cancel your pass online before 11:30PM on March 4th for the April benefit month. Because of the automated nature of the process there is no way to circumvent such deadlines.

May I purchase a transit product and an annual Parking Permit?

No. Harvard does not allow for individuals to purchase transit products (i.e. a subsidized MBTA monthly pass and/or private transit products) and an annual parking permit. However, such products may be purchased in conjunction with an EVENING COMMUTER permit, a MOTORCYCLE permit, or DAILY permits.

How do I change my benefit from parking to MBTA/Transit?

You will need to plan 6-8 weeks in advance of receiving a transit pass through Harvard.

  • First, you must return your parking permit to the Campus Service Center located on the 8th floor of the Smith Campus Center (1350 Massachusetts Avenue). This process must also be followed for parking permit holders who let their permit expire at the end of the fiscal year.
  • Returning your permit is the only way to allow you to access the WageWorks transit pass ordering site. When returning your permit, you may arrange for a temporary permit to use until your transit pass arrives.
  • Your eligibility will be reflected on the WageWorks site between 1-2 weeks after you return your permit. Try logging in on Friday after 3PM and refer to our ordering guidelines to establish your transit pass order.
  • Passes must be ordered by 11:30PM on the 4th day of the month prior to the month you want to start using transit.
  • Please use the transit pass ordering deadline and an additional 1-2 weeks to update your eligibility to enroll in the transit pass program to help guide the time frame for returning your parking permit. Contact CommuterChoice if you have any questions about this process.

What happens if my MBTA pass or other transit product is not received, defective or lost?

Non-received, defective, lost, or stolen Local Bus or LinkPass CharlieCard?

Call Wage Works: 1.877.924.3967 using the last 4 digits of your HUID to have a new card sent to you. Defective, lost, or stolen passes may be replaced online through your ordering site. Your CharlieCard will be deactivated and a new card will be sent to the address on file which you should receive within 7 business days of your request.

Non-received or defective Commuter Rail, Boat or Private Transit Product?

Call Wage Works customer service within the first three business days of the month: 1.877.924.3967. Employees will only be reimbursed for these costs once in every twelve month period.

To request reimbursement for bus and subway commuting expenses incurred because a product was not received or defective:

Please submit a written request by emailing commuterchoice@harvard.edu. When submitting requests, receipts are necessary and can be mailed to CommuterChoice, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Smith Campus Center, Room 837. Cambridge, MA 02138 or scanned and emailed to commuterchoice@harvard.edu. Please be sure to also include: your full name, the first four digits of your Harvard ID, a contact phone number and whether your paycheck is direct deposited. Harvard is not responsible for damaged, lost or stolen transit products thus will not reimburse for out of pocket expenses. Out of pocket expenses are limited to the cost of one round trip fare per workday for a maximum of five workdays. Personal trips and weekend trips (unless work related) will not be reimbursed.

How do I update my home address?

The online ordering system uses the current address on file in PeopleSoft. Please allow one week for the updates to be reflected on the online ordering system. If you select an International address, you will automatically be disqualified from the transportation benefit system.

How and when do I pay for my Transit Products?

You must pay via  payroll deduction. Your pay stub will show the cost of your pass, including Harvard’s subsidy to the MBTA monthly pass; and Employee’s contributions (Transportation Before Tax and Transportation After Tax).

Deductions are taken from paychecks the month prior to use. Faculty, staff, and postdocs paid weekly will see deductions taken in the third check of the month and those paid bi-weekly will see deductions taken in the second check of the month. If a single paycheck doesn’t cover the full amount of the pass, the remainder is deducted in subsequent paychecks.

Why is no subsidy displayed on the WageWorks ordering platform?

The WageWorks website does not initially display the 50% MBTA subsidy but your payroll deductions with accurately reflect the correct 50% subsidy for monthly MBTA passes. 

Can I order more than one trasit pass?

No. Employees can only purchase one transit pass per month. Commuter Rail passes include free access to the Bus and Subway. 

How do I provide documentation of transit commuting history to receive a car insurance discount?

Participants in the transit pass program can log in to the WageWorks platform and click "Claims & Activity" followed by "Download Transactions."

Why am I getting a browser error message when trying to access the WageWorks site?

Older browsers may not be compatible with the WageWorks platform. If you get a browser error, you will need to update your browser before you can access your account.

 

What is the Carpool Program?

Benefits eligible Harvard employees and postdocs who carpool to the Cambridge or Allston/Brighton campuses at least four days per week are eligible for on-campus parking in unreserved garages and lots at a reduced rate of 50% off for a two person carpool and 75% off for a three or more person carpool.

Please note that the carpool program for employees located the Longwood campus is run through MASCO, not the CommuterChoice office.

What is the Vanpool Program?

Vanpool parking fees are fully subsidized by the University for Harvard lots and subsidize the monthly vanpool rate by 50% for participating eligible employees and postdocs. In order to recieve a 50% subsidy, you must first email CommuterChoice or call 617.384.RIDE (7433).

How can I find a carpool or vanpool to join?

Utilize Zimride or NuRide, two online ride matching databases to find carpools or vanpools in your area. 

What if my carpool partner drops out, leaves the university, or goes on leave of absense?

If a carpool member drops out of the carpool, leaves the university, or goes on leave of absence, CommuterChoice must be notified immediately. The remaining person(s) will have sixty (60) days to recruit another member. If a new member cannot be found, the prorated normal annual parking rate will be reinstated for the remainder of the year. Please contract CommuterChoice for assistance with carpool formation or to identify commuting alternatives. 

What is the Bicycle Benefit Program?

The bicycle benefit allows benefits eligible faculty, staff, and postdocs paid directly by Harvard, who use their own bike for commuting to be reimbursed for $20/month at a maximum of $240/year for the costs associated with bicycle purchase, improvement, repair and storage. This benefit operates on the calendar year; your total reimbursement amount accrues over the calendar year and is paid back to you against the total eligible expenses you incurred in the same year. Reimbursement claims are processed and paid in the beginning of the following year. If you are a new employee/postdoc or use a parking permit or transit pass through Harvard for some months of the year, your total reimbursement value is prorated based on your eligible months.

What is eligible for reimbursement?

Bicycle commuters are eligible for reimbursement of up to $20/month at a maximum of $240/year for the costs associated with bicycle purchase (new or used, purchased from a store or private party), improvement, repair and storage. Purchases such as bicycle apparel, clothing, or Blue Bikes memberships are not eligible at this time. For eligibility questions email: commuterchoice@harvard.edu

Am I eligible if I just bike for some months out of the year?

Yes. A qualified bicycle commuting month is one during which a benefits eligible employee or postdoc does not also receive a University subsidized monthly MBTA transit pass or a University annual parking permit.

What happens if I leave the University?

You will still be eligible for the benefit for any months during the year you were employed. Simply apply for reimbursement before the March 31 deadline and a check will be sent to an address of your choice. This policy is subject to change.  

What are the deadlines for reimbursement?

Reimbursement claims must be submitted by March 31 for the previous year's expenses

When will I receive my reimbursement?

Reimbursements are paid between February and April, depending on when your claim is received. Reimbursements are paid through Harvard Payroll and will be sent in the same way as you receive your paycheck, either through direct deposit or as a paycheck.  

What documentation is needed?

For all expenses, attach receipts or evidence of charges that clearly state all of the following:

  • Name of service provider
  • Nature of service or supplies
  • Amount of reimbursable expense under the plan
  • Date(s) of service
  • Form of payment