The U-Pass program is worth the tuition increase

Written By Carson Folio, Staff Writer

With talks of university-backed bus passes finally making progress, my first thoughts are those
of enthusiasm. As someone whose only reliable modes of transportation are walking and public
transit, the benefits were clear to me right from the beginning. Other universities in the city have
recognized and acted on this need long before Point Park has. The fact that we are located right
in the epicenter of bus and rail transportation yet do not get access to these without personal
costs is truly ridiculous. Cost is not a valid excuse either; in high school I was part of a school
district that gave out bus passes to nearly every high school they had.

If a public school district in Pittsburgh can do it, why can we not?
In the fall semester, The Globe reported that a pilot program to test the U-Pass program at Point
Park University was signed with a full agreement possibly being reached during Christmas time.
With this happening, the student body is now finally one step closer to having something that
students have been asked for since at least 2016.

But with a new program comes the possibility of a tuition increase; over and over I have heard
professors say that other schools’ U-Pass programs are reflected in their tuition. But this is not
something that should be unexpected and honestly should not be a means to give the student
body second thoughts on university-provided bus passes. In a 2016 news article from The Globe
about a Student Government Association proposal on a U-Pass program, it was estimated that it
would add $100 to $200 to every student’s tuition. Comparatively, a monthly bus pass directly
from PRT costs roughly $100 per month. If we are not paying over a thousand dollars per year
for this program, it pays for itself. No more will neighborhoods with events and fun things to do

be out of reach for those who do not have the luxury of a car or the means to pay for public
transit on their own. As someone who regularly takes public transit, I can say that fare adds up
fast. $50 on a bus pass from PRT may last you two weeks or it will last months. A U-Pass
program at Point Park will eliminate that worry of whether you are spending enough just to get
around the city.

Some information about the U-Pass program is only speculation; I have heard that students will
have to opt-in to the program. However, I have not seen or heard any concrete evidence of such.
This is also something I hope is true as not every student is going to want a bus pass, I
understand that. But I must stress that you will surely be missing out if we get this program.
Whether you are a freshman living on campus, an upperclassman living in their own place off
campus or a commuter student, the benefits of fare-free public transit that can be used whenever
and however much you want are undeniable.

If the fall semester of 2023 is yet another year where the U-Pass program does not get
implemented, that will be a major disappointment. The fact this has been requested by students
for almost seven years now and still has not been delivered on is astonishing. All I can do is hold
out hope and I encourage everyone reading this to do the same.