U-Pass program extended for the summer

Sean Boyd

CSULB students can take advantage of free bus rides for the next three years starting on June 30.

Jared McKiernan, Assistant News Editor
May 21, 2012
Filed under News

Cal State Long Beach signed a new three-year agreement with Long Beach Transit that will allow the entire CSULB campus year-round access to the city’s U-Pass program, starting May 26.

The U-Pass partnership, which began September 2008, will once again give students and faculty the option to ride any LBT bus or Passport shuttle for free seven days a week, 365 days a year by swiping a valid CSULB identification card through the bus’ fare box.

The program offered 365-day access during one other period in its four-year history, from October 2008 until October 2009.

The U-Pass partnership was established in response to high gas prices and the expected increase in on-campus parking congestion at CSULB when classes began in fall 2008.

CSULB is currently the only Cal State University campus to have a U-Pass program.

Prior to the new agreement, the program faced an uncertain future due to tight budgets and limited funds from campus fines and forfeitures, the primary financial source for the U-Pass system. But the popularity and efficiency of the program prompted officials on both sides to reach a deal.

Elissa Thomas, sustainable transportation coordinator for CSULB, was one of the officials who fought to keep the U-Pass program in place.

“It went from, ‘How can we afford to do this?’ to, ‘How can we afford not to do this?’” Thomas said.

In addition to revenue from parking tickets and parking passes, $2 from each student’s Student Excellence Fee is put towards U-Pass and other sustainable transportation efforts, such as JAX’s Bike Checks on campus, each semester.

The current U-Pass agreement, which was signed prior to the fall 2011 semester, allowed use of the bus system for the fall 2011 and spring 2012 academic sessions but not summer 2011.

LBT Senior Vice President Marcelle Eply said that while making the program year-round benefited students and faculty, it is also proved more cost-efficient for LBT.

“We spent a lot of money on trying to communicate when the program was ending and then again when it started back up, so when you start and stop a program like that it causes a lot of confusion,” Eply said. “This way, it’s seamless.”

Some students enrolled in summer classes are planning to take advantage of the 365-day U-Pass access.

“You shouldn’t have to pay to get to school,” sophomore health science major Kiara Fair said. “I’ll be going to [Long Beach Community College] this summer to get some classes done, so I’ll definitely be using it.”

Even students not taking summer classes are also excited about the summer access.

“I like it,” Lauren Ross, a sophomore civil engineering major, said. “I think it’s pretty cool, because I take the bus often. It’ll come in handy in the summer to go to the beach.”

Starting June 30, the University Bookstore will no longer provide or sell any forms of transit fare for LBT, Metropolitan Transit Authority or Orange County Transit Authority.


3 Responses to “U-Pass program extended for the summer”

  1. angry mom on June 10th, 2012 9:23 pm

    I can see why OCTA passes won’t be selling this summer. I am outraged by the behavior of some of the CSULB students while riding the bus. Some of the students are simply way too rowdy, rude as if they do not want to give up their seat to a senior citizen, disabled person, or a parent with small children. It is a darn shame to see these students act so immature and I feel sorry that LB Transit has to put up with the rowdiness of poorly behaved students and I wish all the transit agencies well in handling of rudeness.


  2. Anonymous on June 20th, 2012 9:12 pm

    LB Transit should not extend the UPASS after I had a nightmarish experience with your students on an OC bus. One of your students was very hostile and very rude towards the driver and I see this as a common pattern these days. The only way these kids will learn to behave is to suspend the passes for ALL transit agencies until the students act appropriately. Got it?


  3. Trina on June 21st, 2012 2:50 am

    I was also on that same bus today and that “student” did in fact curse and use profanity and the poor driver had to ask him to leave. I have noticed students waiting for the LB bus being pretty rowdy also. I bet it’s the same problem with LB Transit since these students also ride with the high school kids. It’s unfortunate that LB Transit has a three-ring circus going on and with CSULB students riding the bus all summer long, it is a headache on whichever transit agency it is on. There needs to be a program in which if a student is kicked off or reported to the cops, then their pass will be revoked; hopefully an idea added to the program would improve student behavior.


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