Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

University provides on- ground undergraduate students free bussing with activity fund

Photo by Caleb McCartney
Students cross Boulevard of the Allies as a bus approaches.

In a blast email sent on August 26, Director of Student Life Desmond McCoy announced the University’s launch of its free bussing program called U-Pass through Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT). 

To participate, full-time undergraduate students can download the Ready2Ride app on their phone to receive “unlimited monthly U-Pass tickets.” These tickets last for a three-hour window, according to the email from McCoy. At the moment the program is not yet available to graduate students, staff or faculty.

Maddy Koropchak, a junior theater major, said her process of signing up for the program went relatively smoothly. Although she hasn’t had a chance to use the program, she plans to utilize U-Pass for anything that isn’t downtown, like her tattoo appointments or shopping.

“I’m kind of surprised that it didn’t happen earlier,” Koropchak said. “Just because it’s like ‘Pittsburgh is your campus’ is what the saying is. Some of us have been restricted by that by not having free bus passes. This is very beneficial and it’s more money that can go towards groceries and other necessities.”

Vice President of Student Affairs Keith Paylo envisioned the program opening up campus for students. He was the main negotiator in obtaining this resource for the university. 

He previously mentioned to The Globe that the Student Government Association has been advocating for this program since 2016. Technology advances in the PRT are what hindered Point Park from joining U-Pass for many years.

According to Paylo, before the app, buses tracked their riders with buttons. When anyone entered the bus, the operator would press a button to count the number of and type of rider. There was a button for senior citizens, a button for the University of Pittsburgh, and a button for Carnegie Mellon University, but there were no extra buttons for other universities. 

At the launch of the program he chose the largest 

population to be the only one to receive free bussing. “Our largest population that can be impacted is the undergraduate full-time student population,” Paylo said. “I’m not saying that graduate students are not just as important, or that the part time students or the faculty and staff are not as important, but my philosophy is we have to start somewhere.”

The university is paying for the U-Pass program per ticket, so at the end of the year they will know how much it has cost them. Due to the program, weekend shuttles to the waterfront will discontinue.

Paylo believes that the program is going to open up the city for students. “It’s gonna make it more accessible and hopefully smaller to them so that they can experience some of the neat things that they can go to.” 

In its first week the program has been running relatively smoothly. As previously mentioned to The Globe, the university held a pilot run of the program to smooth out possible technology issues. 

Koropchak spoke about her experience riding the PRT in the past. “I mean, you never know what you’re gonna expect when you get on one of these buses,” Koropchak said. “I mean, you have people talk to you sometimes, as long as it’s nothing scary. It’s never been anything too dangerous or something I felt like I should notify someone about.”

To receive free bussing through the U-Pass program, full-time undergraduate students can download the Ready2Ride app and access their tickets on the first of the next month.

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