Reduced fare programs | DART - Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority

Reduced fare programs

Half Fare Programs

DART offers a Half Fare program for people to ride for about half the cost of regular bus fare. Enrollment and duration of participation vary by eligibility category. Effective January 1, 2021, DART will begin a 6-month pilot temporarily expanding this program to include riders receiving food assistance, or those participating in a job training program or who have applied for unemployment benefits.

Who is Eligible?

  • Adults 65 and older
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Refugees
  • Students
  • People receiving food assistance (Effective Jan. 1 – June 30, 2021)
  • Participants in workforce training programs (Effective Jan. 1 – June 30, 2021)
  • Individuals applying for unemployment benefits (Effective Jan. 1 – June 30, 2021)

Riders can apply in-person at the DART Customer Service Window, located in DART Central Station (620 Cherry St., Des Moines).

Cost to Ride

Riders accepted into the Half Fare program will receive a Half Fare  ID card* to pay with cash on the bus or buy passes in the MyDART app, at Customer Service or at pass sales outlets. *Students with a current school year ID do not need a separate Half Fare ID card. 

Local, Express and On Call
(Does not include Paratransit service)

Single Ride
Day Pass


Weekly Pass


Monthly Pass


Tokens (1 token = 1 ride)


How to Apply

  1. Go to the Customer Service window at DART Central Station, 620 Cherry Street, Des Moines, IA 50309. Bring the required documents for your program, noted in the "Required Documents" below. 
  2. Ask for a Half Fare application and fill it out with your information. Students do not need to apply, but can simply show a current school year ID to buy passes. 
  3. A Customer Service member will review the application. This usually takes 1-2 minutes unless more documentation is required. 
  4. If approved, your photo will be taken and you will be given a Half Fare ID card with your name and photo. 
  5. Use this Half Fare ID card to pay with cash on the bus or to buy a bus pass. Ask Customer Service to add Half Fare to your MyDART account if you are using the MyDART app to pay. 

Required Documents

When you go to DART Central Station to apply for a Half Fare ID card, please bring the required documents for the program to which you are applying.

Adults 65+

  • Bring a photo ID with your date of birth (example: driver's license). 

Persons with Disabilities
(Bring one of the following)

  • Proof of Social Security disability payments from the federal government, such as a copy of the award letter that states payments are being recieved due to disability. 
  • Medicare card
  • DART's Health Care Provider Certification form completed by your physician. (NOTE: To save yourself another trip to DART Central Station, please have this form filled out before submitting your Half Fare application. You can get an application at DART Central Station.)

(A representative from your refugee-service agency must be present when you fill out your application and bring the following documents.)

  • I-94 form and;
  • Photo ID or green card


  • Bring a current school year ID from a middle school or high school, public or private, within Polk County. Parents may purchase passes for their children and the students do not need to be present; however, the parent must have student's school ID. 

Individuals receiving food assistance

  • Bring a photo ID or other form of identification
  • Bring the Notice of Decision or Determination for Food Assistance mailed to you by the Department of Human Services (DHS).

Participants in workforce training programs

  • Bring a photo ID or other form of identification
  • Bring a letter on official letterhead from participating organization showing proof that you are participating in a job training program.

Individuals receiving unemployment

  • Bring a photo ID or other form of identification
  • Bring the Unemployment Claim letter that Iowa Workforce Development sent you when you completed your unemployment application. This letter is printed on green paper, and is otherwise known as your “green sheet.”

Half Fare Guidelines

  • The Half Fare ID card is not transferable and can only be used by the card holder. 
  • Improper use of the Half Fare ID card will result in the loss of card privileges. 
  • The Half Fare ID cards may be used to purchase only one weekly pass per week or one monthly bus pass per month. 
  • If a Half Fare ID card is lost or needs to be replaced, DART Customer Service can create a new card for $5.

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

Opportunities Thru Transit (OTT)

Income-eligible people can ride the bus at a reduced rate when going to work, looking for a job or traveling to adult educational and training programs. The bus pass gives you unlimited use of DART buses for the current calendar month. Because of the expansion of the half-fare program as of Jan. 1, 2021, DART will not accept new applications to the OTT program between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2021.

Riders enrolled before Jan. 1 will be able to remain in this program during the expansion of the half-fare program. If you have questions about OTT, or need to update your program information, please call DART Customer Service at 515-283-8100 option 0.

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