Frequently Asked Questions

Questions?

For assistance with issues related to your transit pass:

Edenred Commuter Benefits

Phone Icon888.235.9223
 

CommuterChoice

Phone Icon617.384.7433
 
1350 Massachusetts Avenue Room 750
Cambridge, MA 02138.

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 can order transit products via the online ordering platform or over the phone by calling 1.888.235.9223. Please have your Harvard ID handy if you place an order over the phone. Edenred will need this number to lookup your account and place the order on your behalf. By placing an order, 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 the 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 11:59PM ET 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. 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, please log in the following morning since eligibility data is updated daily.

For instructions on ordering your transit pass through the Edenred Commuter Benefits’ site, please refer to this "How To" guide.

How do I change or cancel my transit order?

For instructions on changing or cancelling your transit order, please refer to the steps in this “How To" guide.  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 11:59PM ET 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 Harvard 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 Harvard 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 an annual Harvard parking permit 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 Edenred Commuter Benefit 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 Edenred Commuter Benefit site between 1-2 days after you return your permit. Try logging in 1-2 days after you have returned your Harvard parking permit. Once you have logged in, you can refer to our ordering guidelines to establish your transit pass order.
  • Passes must be ordered by 11:59PM ET on the 4th day of the month prior to the month you want to start using transit.
  • Please use the transit pass ordering deadline 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?

If your WageWorks-distributed pass is non-received, defective, lost or stolen, please contact commuterchoice@harvard.edu

Starting April 1, defective, lost, or stolen Edenred passes may be replaced online through your ordering site. If you need help requesting replacement, please refer to this “How To” guide. Once a replacement request has been submitted, your CharlieCard will be deactivated and a new card will be sent to the address on file. If you submit this request by 3pm of each business day, a new card will be mailed the same day and you should receive it within 1-2 business days of your request. You may also stop into the CommuterChoice office to have your Perq CharlieCard replaced on site.

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

Non-received or defective passes may be replaced online through your transit ordering site. If you need help requesting a replacement, please refer to this simple “How To” guide. Employees will only be reimbursed for these costs once in every twelve month period. Per MBTA rules, Commuter Rail and Ferry passes are not-replaceable and therefore we are unable to reimburse for lost passes. The University reserves the right to deny reimbursement for any reason at the discretion of CommuterChoice staff.

How do I update my home address?

The online ordering system uses the current address on file in PeopleSoft. Please allow one day 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. If you move, do not rely on mail forwarding, as CommuterChoice will not reimburse for non-delivered passes through this process.

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.

Can I order more than one transit pass?

Employees can only purchase one MBTA pass per month. However, if your commute consists of a private transit provider plus the MBTA, you will receive a 50% subsidy on the MBTA pass and pre-tax benefits on the private transit pass. 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 Edenred Commuter Benefits platform and click "My Account" followed by "Order History." Then you can “Run Report”. Please access our “How-To” guide.

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 the Zimride online ride matching database 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 $30/month at a maximum of $360/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 $30/month at a maximum of $360/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 the previous year as long as you are an active employee through the submission deadline date of January 31, 2020. This policy is subject to change.  

What are the deadlines for reimbursement?

Reimbursement claims must be submitted by January 31, 2020 for the previous year's expenses

When will I receive my reimbursement?

All reimbursements are paid out once during the spring 2020, 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