Universal Transit Pass (Proposed)

Universal Transit Pass (Proposed)

This is a proposed program that is presently being consulted with the campus community. Consultation with Recognized Student Governments is underway and feedback from undergraduate, graduate, and professional students is being collected.

This is a proposed program where all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who pay the Transportation and Safety Fee would automatically receive unlimited access to all transit systems 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 would provide low-cost transportation for all Twin Cities students and would help 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 safe, 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 would be automatically enrolled when they pay the Transportation and Safety Fee. The U Card will likely be the pass for this program. It would be activated on the designated effective date. Those who pay the spring fee would continue to have access to the transit system through the summer.

Who is eligible?

Students who pay the Transportation and Safety Fee.

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

Yes, a student who does not pay the fee could opt-in to purchase a UTP on a semester-by-semester basis at a similar cost.

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

UTP is estimated to cost $45 per semester/$90 per year, including summer. This is up to a 74% savings off of the current 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 will automatically enroll in the program. 

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 will continue to operate.

What are the next steps?

Consultation with Recognized Student Governance Associations (RSGAs) – Minnesota Student Association (MSA), Council of Graduate Students (COGS), and Professional Student Government (PSG) – is underway.  The RSGAs will consult 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 will also be conducted.

What is the full timeline for program implementation?

The goal is to evaluate program parameters and establish student support in the spring, with an intended start date of fall semester 2022 (pending Board of Regents approval).