Price of ASU’s student U-Pass to increase next year, eliciting mixed feelings from riders

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(Alexis Macklin/DD)
The price for a year-long ASU U-Pass will go up $50 for the 2013-2014 academic year. The spike in cost is in response to Valley Metro’s March 1 fare increases. (Photo illustration by Alexis Macklin/DD)

Students who buy an ASU U-Pass for the upcoming academic year will pay an additional $50, according to ASU Parking and Transit Services. The price increase coincides with across-the-board fare increases by Valley Metro.

The new $200 price tag is actually $30 less than the one originally proposed when planning began late last year, according to documents provided by the City of Phoenix Public Transit Department.

Marie Chapple, a public information officer for the City of Phoenix Public Transit Department, said ASU and Valley Metro share an agreement regarding U-Pass pricing that allows ASU Parking and Transit Services to determine the price for students, though that price may not fall below a value set by Valley Metro.

“ASU can increase the price as much as they want,” Chapple said. “We tell them the minimum.”

The U-Pass is available to ASU students and allows them to ride Valley Metro trains and buses at a discounted rate. The cost of the pass is subsidized by ASU.

The U-Pass is different from Valley Metro Semester Passes, which are available to full-time students at most area colleges. Semester passes previously cost $195; students purchasing a pass each semester will now pay $230 per pass.

“The U-Pass price represents a more than 75% discount for students than they would pay if they purchased an Express pass directly from Valley Metro,” ASU Parking & Transit Communications Specialist Shereen Shaw wrote in an email.

Before the March 1 fare increases, a 31-day Valley Metro Express pass was $85. The Express passes now cost $104.

A single ride pass on the light rail or bus is now $2; previously, a single ride pass was $1.75. All day passes will now cost $4, a fifty-cent increase.

Kelci Cooper, a journalism freshman who lives at Taylor Place, owns a U-Pass this year, but said she won’t be purchasing one for next year because she’ll be commuting from home.

“I used it a lot to go to football games and basketball games in Tempe and to the grocery store every once in a while,” Cooper said. “It felt like I saved money but I’m not sure I personally used it enough to be worth (the price).”

Criminal justice sophomore Edward Armijo, who lives in Tempe, said he is frustrated with the change in price.

“I am tired of dealing with the light rail and their costly prices,” Armijo said. “I would rather ride a bike everywhere.”

Correction: April 17, 2013

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the 2013-2014 U-Pass price will be $25 higher than for the current academic year. The 2012-2013 price was $150, not $175, so the new price of $200 will be a $50 increase in price.

Contact the reporter at ashley.mcculley@asu.edu

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