UVU, like many schools, has been subsidizing bus passes for a long time. Many students rely on the bus as their only means of transportation, but since the rise in gas prices, this student discount has been threatened.
During the student fees meeting for this coming year, Utah Transit Authority proposed to raise the bus cost for the school to a significantly higher amount, meaning higher student fees for everyone.
UVUSA denied this offer, threatening to no longer be in partnership with UTA. Without the partnership, students needing public transportation would be forced to pay full price for a pass, $75 per month.
“Student government didn’t like what was happening,” said Samuel Hadlock, UVUSA’s executive vice president. “We had a lot of discussion over it, and students started speaking up.”
Unlike most universities, UVU does not offer on-campus housing causing a higher demand for public transportation. Other campuses, such as Weber State University even have a shuttle from off campus housing.
“I can see how it would be frustrating to pay so much, just coming from close by, like from Wolverine Crossing,” said Randi Singleton, a UVU student who rides the bus.
Another concern Singleton and many students have about the cost of bus passes raising is the issue of parking.
“Parking is going to be outrageous,” Singleton said. “People already complain.”
“People were upset, but we had to just tell them it’s UTA, not us,” said Natalie McMaster who sells bus passes at Campus Connection. “There are also a lot of international students who don’t even have a car.”
Hadlock said his colleagues believe the amount of students using the bus will not affect parking very much.
For $20, students have enjoyed a bus that goes west of the freeway every fifteen minutes, and that goes to Provo and other surrounding cities
“A lot of students came in with feedback,” Hadlock said. “We like this because sometimes we feel that students don’t give input.”
Hadlock explained that often times students do not engage in school politics, which makes it harder to improve practices. When this issue came up, this was not the case.
The complaints were heard and UTA returned with a better offer.
“Student government was able to keep the student fees from increasing at all,” Hadlock said.
McMaster has had fewer complaints from students while purchasing bus passes.
“They are happier with it, but it’s still a big deal,” she said. “Lots of students even complained when it changed to a $20 fee. This past year, students paid $20 for a yearlong pass. The year prior, only $5, and before that the pass was free.”
Starting in August, year bus passes will cost $120 dollars, the most it has ever been at UVU. Despite the increase, however, some students are still grateful that they do not have to pay full price.
“I’m not mad about it,” Singleton said. “Normally, it’s $75 per month. It’s still saving me gas money, especially because I’m living in Salt Lake City this summer.”