January 23, 2015

SG to hold student referendum on U-Pass

A referendum on whether or not to bring U-Pass to the College will be organized by College Council (CC), a move decided upon at Student Government’s thrice-quarterly Assembly meeting on Thursday evening. U-Pass is a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) program that provides unlimited rides to full-time students during the school year.

The referendum, which will be held sometime in the next two to three weeks, will provide CC with a general survey of student opinions on U-Pass, and is the first step in determining whether the College should enroll in U-Pass.

U-Pass would cost a flat rate of $250 per student per school year, which is about $85 per quarter. This amount translates to roughly four CTA rides per week. It is unclear whether the $250 per student would come from an increase in student tuition or other University funding sources, but it would likely be rolled into existing student fees, such as the Student Life Fee.

If the College enrolled in U-Pass, it would not affect the current arrangement between the University and the 170, 171, and 172 CTA buses, which serve the Hyde Park area for free for anyone with a UCID.

Last year, 69 percent of students who took a SG-sponsored survey supported U-Pass. 500 students took the survey, 175 of whom were from the College. In the survey, students reported riding the CTA an average of three times a week and a median of twice a week, though at the time there was confusion over whether or not these rides included the already free 170, 171 and 172 buses. Students said they would ride the CTA an average of five times a week and a median of four times a week with the U-Pass.

The various University graduate divisions will hold separate referendums on enrolling in the U-Pass program. Currently, students at the School of Social Service Administration use the U-Pass.