The Transportation Incentive Program (TIP) has finally joined the 21st Century.
I’m not well versed on how to use the TIP Benefit on the DC Metro, so I’m referring to the 85% of us Feds who work “Outside the National Capital Region (ONCR)”.
Here’s the old way TIP was run (ONCR):
- Apply for the program via snail-mail or email, wait for approval.
- Get your quarterly notification email from your TIP Point-of-Contact (POC).
- Show up at the designated check distribution spot at the exact designated time.
- Sign a form verifying the number of days each month you used the TIP benefit.
- Receive and sign for your TIP checks.
- Walk your TIP check to the mass transit program of choice, hand your check over to a live clerk to purchase your transit monthly pass.
Here’s the new way TIP is being administered:
- Apply for the program via digitally signed pdf to the TIP POC.
- Receive approval and a TranServe VISA card from the TIP Administrator.
- Receive funding on your TranServe VISA on or about the 20th of each month.
- Purchase your monthly transit program pass via any machine or system that accepts Visa by the 10th of the month.
- Repeat the cycle on or about the 20th of the month.
New Use/Lose feature:
Unlike the old system where you had to account for your use on paper every month/quarter, the benefit is now ‘use or lose’. If you’re going to be out of town TDY for the bulk of next month, just don’t buy a transit pass- the TIP will automatically ‘pull back’ your TranServe Visa balance on the 10th of each month where you do not purchase a pass.
I like the new system. The old system made it cumbersome both to obtain and use the TIP benefit- In my case I had to block off my calendar for the quarterly check distribution, get the checks, then go to the local Mass Transit Office (not conveniently located) each month (during banker’s hours) so I could hand the TIP checks to a live clerk.
Bottom Line: The new TIP system is improved in both convenience and dollar figure. I purchase a monthly pass by sticking the TranServe Visa card in to the ticket vending machine at my usual train station stop. Easy Peasy!
DoN Instruction and FAQ page:
TIP Reference page for Beltway Bandits:
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