This article was first published on the JWU Campus Herald website on July 7, 2014. This breaking news story received incredible attention from students who were, at the time, home for the summer. Within days, its Facebook reach alone was over 13,000. I took the accompanying photo as well.
JWU may charge for RIPTA passes
For years, JWU students have been provided with unlimited free RIPTA bus passes with the swipe of their student ID. While JWU will remain partnered with RIPTA, these passes will no longer be available in the upcoming school year.
According to the Associate Dean of Student Development, Dameian Slocum, there will probably be a cost for riding the RIPTA. Free passes will continue through the summer, but starting in the fall, students may be charged up to half of the regular RIPTA fare. If this is the case, Slocum said, students will be able to buy passes on a term basis.
This change was prompted by a review of all university transportation costs. JWU recently purchased new buses, made changes to the parking permit policy, and created a parking garage. Additionally, RIPTA will soon be implementing a fare increase. Slocum said that it “doesn’t make sense” to keep offering free RIPTA passes when other methods of transportation are available. “We can’t continue to fund everything,” he said.
For over a decade, JWU has been a part of RIPTA’s University Pass Program (U-Pass). U-Pass provides college students with unlimited free rides, or discounted passes, depending on how much their school is willing to pay RIPTA. Dan Bannister, RIPTA’s marketing manager, said that the program is “definitely continuing.”
He said that changes to the U-Pass agreement are still in negotiation. “Nothing’s been signed yet,” Bannister said. “It’s up to JWU to decide how the policy will be changed.”
Campus Safety & Security said that the university will send out a mass email when plans for the upcoming year are decided. Slocum estimated that all changes will be finalized by next week.