The Chicago Transit Board today announced plans to make the CTA's University Pass, or U-PASS, a permanent fare-pass program. U-PASS provides full-time college students at participating colleges and universities with unlimited rides on CTA buses and trains. Since its inception in 1998, U-PASS customers have taken more than ten million rides on the CTA and the number of participating schools has nearly doubled.
"The response to U-PASS has been extraordinary. We?ve reached out to new schools each and every semester and look forward to sharing the benefits of U-PASS with the remaining colleges and universities of Chicagoland. We eagerly anticipate the continued growth of this program," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett.
CTA President Frank Kruesi said, "The enormous success of the U-PASS program is mutually beneficial. Students enjoy the convenience of CTA service at a reduced rate, and the CTA has the potential to expand ridership by attracting new customers. But perhaps most importantly, U-PASS helps encourage ridership during off-peak hours."
The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) began working with CTA staff on the development of the U-PASS program in 1998. Jacky Grimshaw, Coordinator of Transportation and Air Quality Programs for CNT said, "We are pleased to see the CTA make the U-PASS a permanent part of its rate structure. In its first two years the U-PASS has proven to be a real home run. These students will be able to travel around our city during their college years and continue to ride public transit after they graduate."
Nearly 40,000 students were served by U-PASS during the fall of 1999. This was a 33% increase over the same time period from the year before. Furthermore, 58% of the U-PASS rides were taken outside of rush hours, in times when CTA trains and buses are traditionally less busy.
The permanent program will establish one-year contracts with each school that will be automatically renewable for four additional one-year terms. U-PASSes will continue to be valid for up to five additional days both before and after the semester. And the passes themselves will carry a photo I.D. of the student in addition to the student name, school name, and school logo.
Each academic term, students at participating schools pay for the discounted passes as part of the regular fees assessed by the institutions. Previously, the cost of a U-PASS was based on a discount fare of $.50 per calendar day / per full-time student for the duration of the semester, trimester, or quarter. With the permanent program, the cost of the U-PASS will gradually increase to $.60 per calendar day / per full-time student over the course of five years. The increases in price will permit the CTA to recover a percentage of its costs more in line with other discounted fare programs, but are structured so that the impact on student fees is minimized.
Schools that are currently enrolled in the U-PASS Program include:
Dawson Technical Institute
Harold Washington College
Harrington Institute of Interior Design
Illinois Institute of Art
Illinois Institute of Technology
Malcolm X College
Northwestern Business College
Robert Morris College
School of the Art Institute
Taylor Business Institute
For information on participating in the U-PASS program, please contact the CTA at 312-664-7200, extension 3065.
For questions on all other CTA travel, please call 836-7000, all local area codes.###