Replacement U-Pass comes with a charge

The University will foot the bill for stolen keys, locks and U Cards, but not for U-Passes. When robbers took first-year Christie StjernâÄôs purse Monday, the thieves made away with her driverâÄôs license, U Card, U-Pass and bank cards as well as her dorm room keys . The University doesnâÄôt charge students for a replacement U Card , to have their residence hall locks replaced or for new keys if students provide proof that their belongings were stolen âÄî Stjern said all of these items were replaced for her right away. But the U-Pass is a different story. University Parking and Transportation Services charges students $12 for a replacement pass, whether or not the students can prove it was stolen. Mary Sienko, PTS spokeswoman, said once the system switched from a one-time printed photo ID to the renewable online card last fall, the department stopped giving out free replacements. âÄúOne of the drawbacks to the system, however, is that since we do it online there is no way to verify whether the card was stolen or lost,âÄù she said. Because the department collaborates with Metro Transit, the passes take a while to cancel, providing thieves with a window to ride for free or sell the pass, Sienko said. University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said there is a high probability that many of the past U-Pass âÄútheftsâÄù were false, filed by students who either lost their cards or wanted to give or sell a free ride to someone else. Several times when officers pressed students for specifics about the U-Pass theft, the students were vague or admitted to losing it, he said. âÄúObviously [PTS is] trying to have some accountability and probably prevent people from selling or giving their U-Passes away, or keeping it and continuing to use it,âÄù Miner said. But the U Card office has a completely different mentality, Shirley Everson , U Card office director, said. âÄúIf we get the police report, [we] donâÄôt ask for another point of proof,âÄù she said. âÄúWe would most often not have to ask for anything else.âÄù This saves students the $15 a lost card would cost them. The U Card office isnâÄôt concerned about fraudulent use, specifically because of the cardâÄôs photo ID and the departmentâÄôs ability to cancel a lost card at any time and assign a student a new 16-digit code. Evan Henke , a first-year graduate student robbed at gunpoint Nov. 6 , said the U-Pass should be replaced for free, just like the U Card or a bank card. âÄúAfter I got robbed, I called TCF and Chase, who does my credit card,âÄù he said. âÄúThey just send you one for free because youâÄôre a paying customer âĦ they want your patronage.âÄù While Henke said he acknowledges that people might abuse the system, he added that it is ethical to replace the stolen bus pass. âÄúI donâÄôt think itâÄôs really fair to the victims of violent crime,âÄù he said. For PTS, itâÄôs a fine line between accommodating victims and becoming a victim, but Henke disagrees with that sentiment. âÄúI donâÄôt see how fair it is to draw the line for people who really are coerced and forced to give it up,âÄù he said.