ROTC Transportation Program

Contact Us

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CommuterChoice Office

Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center Room 750
1350 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Monday - Friday: 9am - 4pm
Saturday, Sunday and University Holidays: Closed


ROTC Transportation Program

The ROTC Transportation Program ("the Program") is designed to facilitate local transportation to common ROTC destinations for Harvard College cadets and midshipmen. Cadets and midshipmen who register for the Program have access to unlimited use of the MBTA bus and subway system, unlimited use of the Harvard M2 Shuttle, unlimited use of Bluebikes, and up to five (5) summonable Lyft rides per calendar month.

Important note: Cadets and midshipmen must limit their use of the ROTC Transportation Program to travel that is solely for ROTC purposes. Cadets and midshipmen should speak with MIT ROTC unit staff about ROTC travel beyond the local area.

Route Map of all Transportation Options:

The MIT ROTC building is approximately 1.5 miles from Harvard Square. Click here for a useful PDF map that you can print. This map shows several routes between Harvard and MIT ROTC, including a safe, efficient bike route.

MBTA Program (public bus and subway):

Cadets and midshipmen are strongly encouraged to enroll in the MBTA Program. Those who enroll will pick up a debit card at the Campus Service Center. The debit card is encoded for use only with MBTA products and will arrive loaded with $100 in initial value. Please use the debit card to add value to your Harvard ID/CharlieCard either online or at an MBTA station kiosk (such as the kiosks located underground at all the Harvard Square subway entrances). Then tap your Charlie Card to pay your fare when you board an MBTA bus or enter a subway station on your way to/from an ROTC Destination.

Register your Charlie Card here to recoup value if your Harvard ID/CharlieCard is lost or stolen.

If your debit card balance is running low or if you lose either your Harvard ID/CharlieCard or debit card, please contact commuterchoice@harvard.edu. Replacement debit cards will take 7-10 business days to arrive.

For travel between Harvard and MIT, the #1 bus will likely be your fastest, most convenient option. The first #1 bus leaves Harvard shortly after 5am Monday-Saturday (shortly after 6am on Sundays) and typically arrives at the MIT Albany St. stop 10-12 minutes later.

The subway (Red Line) is also an option. Note that for travel from Harvard Square to MIT ROTC (Building W59), the Central Square subway stop is closer than the Kendall/MIT subway stop. Central Square is just 1 subway stop (4 minutes) from Harvard Square, and then it's a 0.65-mile walk (15 minutes) from the subway to Building W59. Exit the subway in Central Square, walk down Mass. Ave. to Brookline St., turn right on Brookline St., and then turn left on Pacific St. That takes you across the railroad tracks to the back of Building W59.

Real-time tracking for all MBTA buses and subways is available on your phone via the Transit app.

M2 Shuttle Bus:

The M2 shuttle is a privately run Harvard shuttle that goes between Harvard Yard in Cambridge and the Longwood Medical Area in Boston. It is free for Harvard students, and real-time vehicle tracking is available on your phone. The M2 buses are blue, they run frequently on weekdays and Saturdays (but not Sundays), and they stop at MIT. You must have your Harvard ID to board the M2 bus. Simply show your Harvard ID to the driver when you board. The first M2 shuttle leaves Harvard at 6:40AM on weekdays, so the MBTA (#1 bus or Red Line subway) is likely a better option for early morning travel.

Bluebikes:

Bluebikes stations are located throughout Cambridge, Boston, and surrounding communities. The Bluebikes app and website are available on your phone and computer and will show you all Bluebikes station locations as well as the real-time number of available bikes and docks at each station. Remember to check in advance to see if a bike will be available at your intended departure point and if a dock will be open at your intended destination. Also note that per Bluebike rules, your personal credit card will be charged if you check out a bike for more than 45 minutes without docking it. Cadets and midshipmen should always wear helmets when biking and are strongly advised to refrain from biking in unsafe conditions such as inclement weather.

Lyft Program:

When other forms of transit are not an option, cadets and midshipmen have access to a limited number of Lyft rides. Program guidelines are below:

  • Each cadet and midshipman may summon up to five (5) Lyft rides per calendar month during the semester.
  • Unused Lyft rides will not roll over to the following month's Lyft ride allowance.
  • Cadets and midshipmen are expected to share Lyft rides with each other whenever possible, to maximize and leverage their collective Lyft benefit. In most cases, 3-4 passengers are allowed in Lyft vehicles, and Lyft drivers will often drop off passengers along the way (e.g., if you asked a driver to drop off a passenger near Harvard Yard while en route to the Quad).
  • Each cadet and midshipman will be required to input a valid Credit Card number into the Lyft app. This card will not be charged unless there is vehicle damage, inappropriate usage, or if you would like to add a tip. Note that the debit card used to load funds onto your Charlie Card will not be accepted by the Lyft app.
  • Lyft trips are limited to the following locations as provided by the MIT ROTC cadre :
    • Harvard (Cambridge campus plus Athletics and SEAS)
    • MIT
    • Tufts University
    • Wellesley College
    • Endicott College
    • BU ROTC (116-128 Bay State Rd., Boston)
    • Charlestown Navy Yard
    • USCG Boston
    • Hanscom AFB
    • Ft. Devens
    • Natick Army Labs
    • Magazine Beach (Army)
    • Lincoln Labs/Hackathon (Army)
    • Camp Curtis Guild (Army)
    • Boston Paintball, 145 Powder Mill Rd., Sudbury (Army)
    • MOWW Meetings, 72 Wayside Inn Rd., Sudbury (Army)

Riding transit during COVID-19:

  • Bring a mask in the event face coverings are required in all MBTA stations and vehicles (which is still the rule as of August 2021).
  • See bus crowding before you board. Find live crowding information at www.mbta.com/crowding or in the Transit App.

The MBTA is committed to public health on their transit system. Watch this video for tips on riding no public transportation during the pandemic. For more information, please visit mbta.com/covid19/ride-safer

Transportation Benefits Application:

Click here to apply for the transportation benefits mentioned above. Once your eligibility is approved, a follow-up email will be sent to you by the CommuterChoice program with additional program information.

    MBTA Bus at a Stop

    Questions on how to get around? Use the below guides: