Commuting to school is about to become easier and cheaper, thanks to a newly revamped Universal Student Pass or U-Pass pilot program being implemented by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority this fall.
Out of the County’s 1.4 million full-time undergraduate and graduate students, only 1 percent take advantage of Metro’s existing program for providing subsidized transit passes. It offered a 57 percent discount on a College/Vocational 30-day pass, but students balked at the lengthy application process and the requirement that undergrads enroll in at least 12 units
To provide students with a greater benefit, Metro acted on a motion by Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas to launch a U-Pass pilot program at up to 10 community colleges, where students would receive a heavily discounted TAP card.
Starting in Fall 2016, undergrads enrolled with as few as eight units will be eligible for the discount, and Metro will work with schools to encourage sign-ups through the academic registration process.
“These reforms are a win-win, giving students access to safe, efficient and affordable transportation while also giving Metro a great opportunity to grow ridership,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.
“If students get hooked, there’s potential for them to become lifelong riders, which would then benefit schools by relieving parking issues,” he added. “I anticipate that schools will also step up to the plate by increasing the subsidy and making the pass even more attractive.”