By Kristina Antol
March 19, 2014
After two years of speculation, Dominican may finally be closer than ever to getting the CTA U-Pass for the student body.
On February 24, the Student Government Association hosted a U-Pass forum in the Social Hall to inform students about the CTA’s program which allows college students to have unlimited rides on CTA transportation for a flat fee of approximately $120 per semester.
Currently, 41 community colleges, universities and trade schools in Chicago participate in the U-Pass program led by the CTA’s new payment system Ventra. While Dominican does not lie within the Chicago city limits, the university has been eligible for the past few years to participate in the CTA’s program.
At the beginning of the forum, SGA President Berto Aguayo made it clear to all those in attendance that SGA does not have the power to decide if Dominican will get the U-Pass, but rather support the voices of the student body and present all sides of the debate to the administration later this spring.
During the forum, students in attendance voiced their opinions about the U-Pass, raising valid points both for and against bringing the pass to campus. One student, a commuter from Chicago, claimed that she spends over $800 a semester on her commute to school and that she is among several other Dominican commuters who do so. She reasoned that she would rather pay the per semester fee than the $800 she is currently paying. Several other students advocated for bringing the U-Pass to Dominican because of the university’s heavy commuter population.
Should Dominican go into a contract with the CTA and Ventra for the U-Pass, every full time student, including graduate students, would be required to pay the additional fee to tuition attributed to the pass.
While several commuter students voiced their favor for the U-Pass, there were also some commuters who strongly voiced against bringing the pass to campus. One suburban commuter mentioned how she would not benefit from the U-Pass at all because she drives to campus and there are no CTA lines near her home. She stated that the U-Pass would only be an additional burden on her already tight budget.
After listening to student arguments for and against the U-Pass, the SGA senate voted 17-1 in favor of advocating for the U-Pass to the administration.
For those who would like to voice their opinion on the U-Pass, the SGA executive board encourages students to come to the town hall meeting on Monday, March 24 at 5 p.m. in the Cusack Board Room.
· Help the environment by having less students driving
· Alleviate the lack of parking issue at Dominican
· Serve as a marketing tool for recruitment
· Provide more job/internships opportunities for students seeking them in the city and suburbs
· Encourage both resident and commuter students to venture into the city and take advantage of the many educational and recreational events in Chicago
· Students with their own cars probably would not use it
· Not beneficial for all students because not everyone uses public transportation
· Creates an additional fee that many students could not afford
· Requires additional payment to work on Pace buses for the suburbs