MSA lobbies to prorate U-Pass rates

MSA is proposing that students pay based on when they buy the pass.

by Luke Feuerherm

The Minnesota Student Association will be lobbying Parking and Transportation Services and the Metropolitan Council to prorate U-Pass fees so students who purchase the pass later on in the semester will pay a smaller percentage of the $97 cost. The resolution, passed by MSA on Tuesday, focuses on first-year and transfer students who are unaware of their transportation needs until well into the semester. MSAâÄôs proposal recommends students should pay based on the number of days they have the pass, rather than a flat rate. âÄúAs a transfer student, I didnâÄôt quite know what to expect transportation-wise,âÄù said MSA member Nick Saab. âÄúThis would have really helped me last year.âÄù The U-Pass is currently offered to students at approximately a 40 percent discount of what Metro Transit would need to break even, said Dennis Miller, assistant director for finance at Parking and Transportation Services. Several MSA members at TuesdayâÄôs meeting expressed concern about the affect the addition of a prorated option would have on the current price of a U-Pass. âÄúIt seems to be a benefit to the individual at the cost of everyone else,âÄù said Andrew Heairet, MSA member. âÄúIf they are prorated, itâÄôs likely that the cost of the pass would go up for everyone else.âÄù If the price increased, the cost inflation would be negligible, said MSAâÄôs Facilities, Housing and Transit Chairwoman Missy Gettel, who proposed the resolution. âÄúMy system then has to be able to calculate a proration,âÄù said Miller. âÄúThatâÄôs going to cost me some program and administrative costs.âÄù Students currently have several options through Metro Transit, including 10-day and single-day passes that can be bought if a student purchases bus passes late in the semester, Miller said. âÄúIf itâÄôs too expensive because you donâÄôt ride it very much, you have the option to [shop around for] something else they offer.âÄù MSA voted 32 to 18 in favor of lobbying PTS and the Met Council and have modeled their proration proposal after the current parking pass proration. âÄúThe University represents about one-third of Metro Transit ridership,âÄù Gettel said. âÄúSo weâÄôre a big deal.âÄù According to Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons, University students make up about 10 percent of Metro Transit ridership.