Semester U-Pass price increases

Derrick Biney

Like riders around the metro area in July, U-Pass users will pay more this year.

The price for a U-Pass this fall will increase by $5, for a total of $60 per semester, University Parking and Transportation Services officials said.

U-Passes allow students unlimited rides on light rail and buses in the Twin Cities metro area.

The U-Pass program is a specialty program created through a partnership between Parking and Transportation Services and Metro Transit, said Mary Sienko, Parking and Transportation Services marketing manager. She said the department signs a contract with Metro Transit that permits the price of the bus pass to increase at Metro Transit’s discretion.

“One of the clauses in the contract does allow for regularly inflationary increases in the program,” she said. “We sign a contract with Metro Transit saying that we are going to buy your product for ‘X’ number of years.”

She said the U-Pass is not a Parking and Transportation Services product. Rather, the department buys and sells it from Metro Transit.

Economics sophomore Justin Anderson said he doesn’t mind paying an extra $5 for the U-Pass.

“It’s a great deal compared to all of the money I would have to spend riding the bus when I didn’t have a U-Pass. Five dollars is not that huge of a deal,” he said.

Parking and Transportation Services is a self-supporting service, Sienko said. The department has to generate all of its revenue to keep its operations running, she said.

“Over the years, we have had this program, the price has only gone up 10 bucks,” Sienko said. “In four years, I think that is pretty fair.”

Sienko said Metro Transit’s 25-cent fare increase that began July 1 did not directly affect the price of the U-Pass.

Chan Sok, who will be a second-year student in the fall, said he thinks the price of the U-Pass going up is OK because gas prices are increasing.

“The U-Pass, to me, is not that expensive. I think a lot of students can afford it,” he said.