U-Pass price up 31 percent

The sale of the passes was delayed by contract negotiations with Metro Transit

The U-Pass has joined the long list of products increasing in price.

The passes, good for riding Metro Transit buses and the light rail, will cost $84 fall semester – an increase of $20 from last year’s fall pass – Parking and Transportation Services spokeswoman Mary Sienko said.

Bus passes for the upcoming semester are now on sale after being delayed by contract negotiations. They were originally supposed to be available July 28.

The agreement between University officials and Metro Transit comes less than two weeks before summer passes expire on Aug. 24. Fall passes take effect the day after.

Negotiations took place because a three-year contract with Metro Transit had ended, Sienko said. The University was hoping to finalize the contract this week, she said.

Although a new contract was inked, prices can still go up or down next fiscal year, Sienko said.

In a July interview with the Daily , PTS Director Bob Baker said he was expecting U-Pass prices to increase, partially because of gas prices, and Sienko said that’s part of why the price went up.

“Because of the additional costs for fuel and labor we had to pass those costs along to the U-Pass users,” she said.

Metro Transit is planning to increase its bus fares this fall as well, Sienko said.

The pass price increase isn’t a welcome sight to medical student Amy Stoesz , although, in the end, she still sees it as a good investment.

“It’s still better than paying the [rate] each way,” she said, adding that the best part of the pass is not having to park. She said she plans to use the pass every day.

The same goes for incoming first-year student Mike Hatci . Hatci said he learned about the U-Pass from his brother and said it’s a good deal for riders.

Although he doesn’t see it happening yet, he said there may be a tipping point where riders don’t see the cost of the pass outweighing its perks.

Students were set to be notified via e-mail about how they can buy or renew their passes Tuesday, Sienko said.

Metro Transit officials were not available for comment on the issue.