Letters to the editor
(In response to Daryl Bjoraas’s Feb. 23 article, “Thousands of ASU students not paying for light rail.”)
Parking and Transit Services introduced the student U-Pass program as a pilot in 2005 at no cost to students. When Valley Metro’s fares increased by 40 percent in July 2009, PTS worked to ensure that ASU students would continue enjoying the benefit of access to transit while still passing on a significant savings to our students.
After Valley Metro announced their rate increase, it was clear that we either needed to put a fee in place or discontinue the program. We chose to continue the program because we felt it was beneficial for the ASU community and lent the University’s support to mass transit in the Valley. PTS identified $80 per academic year, or $40 each semester, as a reasonable fee to help subsidize the cost of continuing the U-Pass program. Although the cost was implemented to offset the increased Valley Metro costs, the $80 student fee does not begin to cover the full cost of the U-Pass. Every time a student boards a bus or the light rail, PTS is charged $1.29 for that students ride.
It was inaccurately reported in a State Press article appearing in the Feb. 23 edition that “thousands of ASU students have been illegally riding the Metro light rail for the past month, according to an ASU transportation official.”
This is simply not true. For any U-Pass that was not renewed for the spring semester, but had not yet been deactivated, PTS continued to pay Valley Metro $1.29 per boarding each time that pass was validated. Also, PTS has confirmed that more than 5,300 U-Passes were deactivated in February. Any student who had attempted, or is currently attempting, to use a deactivated U-Pass is committing fare evasion.
Theresa Fletcher Director, ASU Parking and Transit Services