New bus passes offer discounts to commuters

by Sean Madigan

In an attempt to increase University ridership, Parking and Transportation Services and Metropolitan Council are offering discount bus passes to all students, staff and faculty members.
The Metropolitan Council originally developed the pass for metro area employers in an effort to get their employees to work, said University transit coordinator Roger Huss. This is the first year it’s available to the University.
“Since the University is such a large employer, we worked very hard with the Metropolitan Council to extend the discount passes to our employees,” said Huss.
Stored-Value Cards and 31-Day bus passes can be purchased at 5 percent and 10 percent discounts, respectively.
The Stored-Value cards function as debit cards. Riders can buy the Stored-Value Cards in whole dollar amounts and the amount of the fare is subtracted from the value of the card every time it is used. Riders can get 11 rides for the price of 10, said Cari Hatcher, spokeswoman for Parking and Transportation Services.
The 31-Day bus pass is designed to provide riders unlimited access for any consecutive 31-day period, rather than a calendar month. The pass is activated the first time it is used.
First-year medical student Emily Duncanson, who plans to purchase a pass, is still learning the routes of the transit system.
“Even though riding the bus is more expensive, I save a lot more time taking the bus rather than driving. The pass would make it even cheaper,” Duncanson said.
Hansen Wong, a first-year graduate student who uses the University bus system, said he would probably not take advantage of the discount pass.
“During the summer using the University buses was kind of a drag and the city buses helped out. But now since school is starting it should get better,” Wong said.
Discount passes are available at Coffman Union, the East Bank bookstore, the West Bank Union Skyway and St. Paul Student Center.