Students always hear how riding the bus can help the environment, lower campus parking problems, and save money. But how many of them have embraced the notion and bought a bus pass?
As of Feb. 14, there have been 4,822 Utah Transit Authority bus passes sold this 07-08 school year. With the current UVSC student population of 23,840 and UVSC faculty staff population of 4,200, this means 17% of UVSC ‘s total population has purchased a bus pass to commute to and from campus.
The distribution of bus passes on Utah campuses is provided through the UTA Ed Pass program. Schools within UTA’s bus services are offered this program to provide alternative transportation for students.
The cost of the Ed Pass program varies from each school, depending on the level of service available in the area. For example, University of Utah’s Ed Pass program costs more than UVSC’s because they are in a larger service area.
UVSC’s administration started paying for the Ed Pass program in 2003, through their budget as well as through student fees. For the first three years, there were 10,000 to 12,000 passes distributed each year.
Beginning in September 2006, the administration started charging an additional $5 for each person who wanted a pass. After that implementation, only 4,472 were distributed that year.
"There was a reduction in the number of passes being distributed once UVSC started charging the $5 for each pass picked up, but there really was no noticeable reduction in ridership by UVSC students," said Carrie Bohnsack-Ware, UTA senior media relations specialist.
The administration still uses student fees to help pay for the Ed Pass program. This raises concern for some students who are paying for the use of bus passes that only 17% of the UVSC population actually use.
Daxten Bowen, a UVSC student, doesn’t ride the bus but is supportive of UVSC paying for the Ed Pass. "I’m okay with it. It’d be good if they let the students know that it’s already coming out of their student fees," said Bowen. "I’m glad that it is helping people that need it."
Even though money is coming out of student fees, UVSC’s offer of a $5 bus pass is a reasonably good deal, considering that BYU charges their students $30-$70 for the same pass.
The bus passes are still available at Campus Connection for $5. They are available to all UVSC students, faculty and staff, and are good until Sept. 15, 2008.