Whether you take the train, bus, subway, vanpool, or park at the train station, Tufts’ Commuter Benefit Program allows you to set aside funds on a pre-tax and post-tax basis for transit and parking expenses.
Commuter Benefit Program
To participate in this program, you must be a benefits-eligible employee*. The IRS allows this pre-tax or post-tax benefit only for employees who use parking or mass transit related to commuting to their workplace. If you are currently working exclusively from home and not commuting to work, you are not eligible for the commuter benefit at this time. However, you may enroll in this benefit if you start working on one of our four campuses in the future.
Once you enroll in the commuter benefit, you will receive an EBPA benefits debit card to pay for certain commuting costs through pre-tax payroll deductions. This benefit is sponsored by the university and administered by EBPA.
Once enrolled, you can use your commuter benefit in one of two ways:
- You can use the debit card to cover the cost of eligible transit passes and parking expenses.
- Or you can purchase a transit pass or pay for parking directly and file for reimbursement through EBPA.
*Postdoctoral Scholars must have a valid social security number in order to participate in this benefit program.
- How to use your EBPA Benefits Card for parking and transit (PDF)
- Parking and Transit Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
- EBPA Commuter Reimbursement Form (PDF)
If you commute to work on any Tufts campus in Massachusetts, you are eligible to receive a transit subsidy as an incentive to use public transportation. The subsidy is as follows:
- Boston and Fenway campuses – 40% subsidy up to a maximum of $55 per employee per month.
- Medford and Grafton campuses – 35% subsidy up to a $40 maximum per employee per month.
The subsidy is reflected in your payroll deduction and applied to the pre-tax amount of your commuter transit election.
How to Enroll/Make Changes
You can enroll or make changes on the EBPA website by the 4th of the month for commuter benefits for the following month.
- Go to Member Access
- Enter Tufts University as the employer, click on Search
- Click on 10803 - Tufts University
- Click on Online Parking and Transit Form/Application (Online Parking- Tufts) and Accept
- Select Enroll or Change Your Monthly Parking and Transit Election
- Complete the Election/Change form agreement
- A confirmation will be sent to the email address you provide
Enrollments will be recurring on a month-to-month basis until you make a change or cancel your election on the EBPA website. All changes must be made by the 4th of the month and will become effective on the 1st of the following month.
- Existing employees: All changes must be made by the 4th of the month and will become effective on the 1st of the following month.
- New employees: If your hire date (or newly benefit eligible date) is after the 20th of the month, your ability to enroll by the next 4th of the following month will be contingent on the completion of your new-hire processing.
Monthly Pre-Tax Limits
The Internal Revenue Service sets limits on pre-tax dollars for commuting expenses. If your commuting expenses exceed the IRS limit, you can use pre-tax dollars up to the designated amount and pay for the rest with taxed income.
The 2021 pre-tax limits are: $270 per month for Parking & $270 per month Transit/Vanpool
Get the EBPA Mobile App
For More Information
How to enroll in and use the commuter benefit:
- Visit the EBPA website
- Call 800-258-7298 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST)
For public transportation maps, schedules and fares:
- Visit the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) website
- 617-222-3200 (Monday- Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
Other Commuter Benefits
Riders and drivers across all of our campuses can now be connected based on overlapping routes, enabling users to share rides to and from campus, meetings, daily commutes, and more. Learn More About Miles2Share.
Tufts ERH program supports Tufts employees who use low-carbon transportation with a free ride if an unexpected emergency arises. It is “commuter insurance” for those who carpool, take transit, bicycle, walk or vanpool to work. Participants simply take a taxi (through Lyft) in the event of an emergency, submit a reimbursement request afterwards (within 30 days), and Tufts will reimburse the individual for the cost of getting home Learn More About Emergency Ride Home.
Tufts Boston and SMFA campuses are a member of A Better City Transportation Management Association (ABC TMA), an independent non-profit working to address employee transportation issues and improve air quality and traffic in Boston. This program enables you to receive up to 6 free rides home a year in case of emergency, unscheduled overtime, or illness if you use public transport, car/vanpool, bike, or walk to work at least twice a week. Learn More About Guaranteed Ride Home.
Tufts students, faculty, and eligible staff can sign up for Zipcar discounted membership fees and rates for cars to drive by the hour or the day. Learn More About Zipcar
Commuter Benefit FAQs
Reimbursable mass-transit expenses include any pass, fare card, or similar product that entitles you to ride on a mass-transit vehicle or commuter highway vehicle such as a vanpool. Parking expenses must be incurred by you at or near your workplace or an area from which you commute to work or use mass transit, a commuter highway vehicle, or carpool.
No. Once enrolled, your enrollment will continue month to month until you change it. If you want to change the enrollment or terminate your participation, you will need to make the change on the EBPA website by the 4th of a month to be effective for the following month.
What do I need to enter in the pre-tax and post-tax election fields when enrolling on the EBPA website?
The 2021 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) limit for pre-tax deduction is $270 per month for transit and $270 per month for parking. Elections that exceed these IRS limits per month should be entered on the EBPA website as post-tax amounts.
Example: If you have a $318 monthly transit expense, you will need to visit the EBPA website and enter the following information:
- Enter $270 under the transit pre-tax field.
- For, the balance of $48 ($318 less $270), you would input under the transit post-tax field.
- Before you can save your elections and finalize your request, you must input $0 under the parking pre-tax and post-tax fields if you do not have a parking expense.
- Save your election.
Can I enroll in the commuter benefit for more than the allowed IRS pre-tax monthly limit for transit and parking?
Any deduction amount over the pre-tax limit will be taken as a post-tax deduction. For example, if you work on the Medford/Somerville Campus and enroll for a $300 commuter benefit, $270 will be a pre-tax deduction, ($40 of which will be subsidized), and $30 will be a post-tax deduction.
EBPA Debit Cards are mailed for delivery by the 15th of a month after your initial enrollment. For example, if you enroll by January 4th, you should receive your debit card at your home address by January 15th. You will continue to use that EBPA debit card each month after you enroll.
You can access your PIN on the EBPA WealthCare Portal. Click on the debit card icon and look for the "View Pin" link next to your card number.
To update your mailing address, visit eServe or call Tufts Support Services at 617-627-7000. Your information will be forwarded to the vendor on the weekly electronic feed sent every Tuesday.
Payroll deductions will be taken in the month prior to the benefit month. For example, payroll deductions for January commuter benefits will be taken in December.
- For employees paid on a weekly basis, payroll deductions will be taken in the 3rd weekly paycheck of the month.
- For employees paid on a semi-monthly basis, the deductions will be taken in the 1st paycheck of the month.
If you separate from the university, you can continue to submit paper reimbursement requests for expenses that were incurred prior to your termination date. When you leave the university, your contributions to the Parking & Transit Program will be discontinued. Your EBPA Benefits Card will be cancelled immediately upon your termination of employment. You may not use the EBPA Benefits Card after your employment with the university terminates.
Please note: If you leave the university and do not cancel your enrollment with EBPA prior to the 4th of the month, funds will still be withdrawn from your paycheck for the subsequent month and there are no refunds. If this occurs and you have funds on your EBPA card prior to your termination date, you may purchase an MBTA pass such as a Charlie Card. However, your EBPA debit card will be deactivated on your date of separation.
Once you submit your completed Commuter Reimbursement Form and required documentation to EBPA, the turnaround time for a live check reimbursement is 7-14 business days. If you wish to set up direct deposit, you must complete the Direct Deposit Form and fax it to EBPA. The initial turnaround time for this is 7-10 business days.
You may purchase your Charlie card at most T stations, the Charlie Card store, or by visiting any of the retail sales locations. For information on how to purchase transit products, log on to the MBTA website at https://www.mbta.com/ or call the MBTA at 617-222-3200, Monday through Friday between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Please note: Your EBPA Debit card is not accepted at retail locations such as grocery stores but you can buy a pass out of pocket and submit a Commuter Reimbursement Form and appropriate documentation for reimbursement.
Under the EBPA program, you need to obtain your own Charlie Card. This also means that if you would like to register for a My Charlie Account, you need to do so on your own. Setting up a My Charlie Account on the MBTA website allows you to set up monthly recurring payments for some pass types (currently not for Commuter Rail) and also gives you “No Worries Protection” that provides coverage in the event of loss, theft, or damage to your card.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-844-0355, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. or Saturday through Sunday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
For information on how to purchase or use transit products, log on to the MBTA website at https://www.mbta.com/ or call the MBTA at 617-222-3200, Monday through Friday between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Commuter Rail passes cannot be set up for a monthly purchase recurrence but can be purchased online, between the 20th of the month (when funds are loaded to your EBPA Debit Card) to the 22nd of the month (the cutoff to order passes online to be mailed home on time).