Metro

MBTA’s expanded student program launches Thursday

MBTA personnel help students make their way through the balky new turnstiles at JFK/UMass stop on the Red line. Students from nearby Boston College High School were among those affected by a hitch with the student fare Charlie Cards. JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE (Metro, STARTS+STOPS, Daniels) Library Tag 01282007 Metro
Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe/file
T personnel helped students through the turnstiles at JFK/UMass Station on the Red Line in 2007.

Starting Thursday, middle and high school students will be able to ride the MBTA at less than half-price.

The program, effective Sept. 1, lets students buy discounted monthly bus and subway passes even if their schools do not purchase the Student Pass for them, the state transportation department said Tuesday.

The MBTA offers two ways for students to take advantage of the reduced fares — a Student CharlieCard, which allows students to pay half-price per trip, or a monthly Student Pass, which students can buy for $30. A monthly pass typically costs $84.50.

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Previously, the passes had only been available to students when their schools purchased them, officials said. But after hearing that many students did not have sufficient access to the reduced fares, the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board voted in March to expand the program.

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Students will also now receive the discounted fares year-round.

“This change will increase access to opportunities for thousands of middle and high school students in the Boston region,” Fiscal and Management Control Board member Brian Lang said in a statement. “An unlimited year-round affordable T pass decreases barriers for low-income students to reach school, jobs, and community activities.”

Olivia Quintana can be reached at olivia.quintana@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @oliviasquintana.