Universal Transit Pass

Universal Transit Pass

In the 2022 fall semester, University of Minnesota students who pay the Transportation and Safety Fee have unlimited access to the regional transit system in the Twin Cities metro area (rides on the NorthStar require a small supplemental fare for each ride). 

Why is a Universal Transit Pass a priority?

A Universal Transit Pass program provides low-cost transportation for all Twin Cities students and helps to meet the following goals:   

  • Equity  
    • Reduces pass cost by up to 74% versus the current U-Pass. 
    • Connects home/campus for most students whether urban or suburban. 
    • Connects to the airport.
  • Access to Food
    •  Expands access to healthy, affordable food options. 
  • Sustainability
    • Reduces the need for single-occupancy vehicles (SOVS) -  a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Safety
    • Provides frequent rides in all weather and at all hours of the day.
    • Reduces single occupancy vehicles (SOVs) on campus making walking and biking safer.

Universal Transit Pass Frequently Asked Questions

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How do I get a pass?

All students are automatically enrolled when they pay the Transportation and Safety Fee. The U Card is the pass for this program. Those who pay the spring fee continue to have access to the transit system through the summer.

Who is eligible?

Students who pay the Transportation and Safety Fee.

How do I activate my pass?

Watch your email in early August to learn when you can start activating your pass. Once you receive the message, activate it by simply tapping your U Card at any Metro Transit light rail station or at a temporary activation station on campus. We will announce the activation station locations soon. Please activate your UTP by September 11. Activating your pass after September 11 will require extra steps, but is still possible.

How do I know if I paid the Transportation & Safety Fee?

Review your student account to determine what tuition and fees have been charged to you. You can view/print your Student Account in the My Finances Tab of MyU. One Stop has a guide to help assist you with this process.

I don’t pay the Transportation and Safety Fee. Can I still participate?

Students who do not pay the Transportation and Safety Fee may be eligible to opt in to the UTP on a semester-by-semester basis at a similar cost. An opt-in process is being developed and should be finalized by mid-August. Individuals in the 95XX job code may opt-in. These requests will be reviewed on a case-by case basis.

I am a 95xx graduate professional worker and need to opt-in to the Universal Transit Pass. What should I do?

If you are a 95xx graduate/professional worker and are interested in opting into the program, please complete the Universal Transit Pass Request Form. Your request will be reviewed and, if eligible, you will receive an email notifying you of when to activate your UTP on your U Card. By submitting this form, you acknowledge that you will be billed $45 for the semester. The bill will be sent to your UMN email and is payable online. The review process will begin on August 8. If eligible, you will receive an email with activation details.

What groups are ineligible for this program?

Ineligible groups include, but are not limited to: full-time faculty and staff, Regents Scholarship recipients, high school program students, participants in the Senior Citizen Education Program (SCEP), and students in off-site or remote-only programs. Program eligibility is determined by a person’s status within academic programs, tuition groups, and PeopleSoft categories that are set by the college or department. View the full list of exceptions.

How much does UTP cost and how will it be funded?

UTP costs $45 per semester/$90 per year, including summer. This is up to a 74% savings off of the previous U-Pass program (when including cost of fall, spring, and summer U-Pass).

In 2021-2022, the Transportation and Safety Fee was $26 and covered campus transit only. Under UTP, the Transportation and Safety Fee would increase to $71 per semester to cover both campus buses and unlimited rides on regional transit. The Transportation and Safety Fee is considered part of the total cost of attendance and can be covered by financial aid assistance. This cost assumes that all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students automatically enroll in the program. 

What transit pass program is available for faculty and staff?

While there is no plan to include faculty and staff in the Universal Transit Pass program at this time, eligible faculty and staff can purchase the Metropass, a monthly unlimited ride pass. Learn about Metropass.

I currently use the Go-To functionality on the U Card? Will UTP interfere with that functionality?

The Universal Transit Pass should not interfere with the Go-To functionality that is available on the U Card. You should be able to continue to use the Go-To functionality even after the pass is loaded onto your U Card.

Will I need to replace my U Card for UTP to work?

Look at the issue date on the lower left corner of the back of your card. If the date is July 1, 2016 or later, the card is compatible with new card readers. U Cards over five years old are eligible for a replacement card from the U Card Office at no cost.

What happens to the current bus pass programs?

The current U-Pass and Campus Zone Pass programs would be retired.  Campus Connectors and Campus Circulators continue to operate.

What groups were consulted as part of the UTP planning?

Consultation occurred with Recognized Student Governance Associations (RSGAs) – Minnesota Student Association (MSA), Council of Graduate Students (COGS), and Professional Student Government (PSG).  The RSGAs consulted with their respective bodies (committees, task forces, etc.) before providing their recommendation to the Administration.  A survey of all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who pay the Transportation and Safety Fee was also conducted.

This proposal was approved with the Board of Regents July 2022 meeting.

What is the full timeline for program implementation?

The goal was to evaluate program parameters and establish student support in spring semester 2022 and start in fall semester 2022.