Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and state Sen. Bob Hertzberg joined the campus community Sept. 26 in celebrating the success of California State University, Northridge’s launch of the Metro Universal Student Transit Pass (U-Pass) pilot program.
CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison, Associated Students President Sevag Alexanian, Los Angeles County Metro Board Chair John Fasana, Los Angeles Councilmember and Metro board member Paul Krekorian, Metro board member Jackie DuPont-Walker, and Valley Industry Commerce Association President Stuart Waldman joined Garcetti and Hertzberg in acknowledging the importance of the new program.
“Bringing U-Pass to CSUN is an example of how we are making sure the San Fernando Valley’s voice is heard and served when it comes to congestion relief and transportation planning,” Garcetti said.
CSUN was the first university in Los Angeles to offer the new U-Pass to its students, launching the program in August. The pass uses a smart chip-enabled sticker to turn a CSUN student’s identification card into a Metro Transit Access Pass (TAP) card pre-loaded with unlimited Metro rides. The card can also be used to load fare for other local transit organizations that accept TAP.
“The popularity of the U-Pass program has surpassed any of our expectations,” said Harrison. “We had long lines of students wanting to purchase the pass and in a few short weeks, 1,500 passes were sold. This is another example of strong collaboration addressing the transportation needs of our students and campus community. Ensuring reliable public transit plays a critical role in access and student success.”
According to Alexanian, CSUN Associated Students had estimated they would sell 500 passes for fall and spring semester combined. By Sept. 26, 1,531 passes had been sold for fall semester alone.
The $95 pass is subsidized by Metro, Associated Students, and CSUN Parking and Transportation. Undergraduate students with eight or more units — or graduate students with six or more units — who have a CSUN student ID card are eligible to purchase the U-Pass online or at the Associated Students box office, located at the CSUN University Student Union.
CSUN freshman Pedro Morataya purchased the U-Pass and said he already had experienced significant savings compared to his previous transit payments. “I don’t have to pay as much for my rides,” he said.
“We know that when students take public transportation [and use the pass], it means a little more cash in their pockets,” Garcetti said, adding that Measure M on the November ballot will include transit price protections for students, the elderly and the disabled.
If passed, Measure M would make CSUN easier to access with additional transit added over the next several decades to the San Fernando Valley, including a new Bus Rapid Transit line along Nordhoff Street from Chatsworth to the East San Fernando Valley, stopping at CSUN.
“As they say, today is one small step for current CSUN students and if Measure M passes, it will be one giant leap for the future of all students to come here at CSUN,” Hertzberg said.