The Falcon   |   Volume 83, Issue 53

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Criticism leads to change

Frustration with buss pass system addressed by ASSP

By , Features Editor

Published: October 3 2007

Student criticism of the bus pass system run by ASSP has triggered a series of changes this quarter, including a new day pass program and an emphasis on better communication of already available programs.

The new day pass program is intended to help curb students' frustrations with the five-hour time limit on the passes available for check out from ASSP, SPU senior and ASSP Public Relations Manager Ashlee Pottenger said.

Another major upcoming change will be increased attention to an already available subsidized pass program through the Office of Safety and Security, she said.

Pottenger has been discussing improvements to the system with Safety and Security Programs Coordinator and SPU alumna Rebecca Taylor, including ways Safety and Security and ASSP can team up to better help students with transportation needs.

They have researched the bus pass systems of other universities in the area and are figuring out what improvements in service are possible at SPU.

The first change of the year, the day passes, went into effect on Monday. Students can now pay a small $2 fee to keep one of several day passes for 24 hours rather than the previous five hours.

For students who ride the bus and want to avoid the hassle of a time limit in previous years, a subsidized bus pass was the best option.

Safety and Security offers a subsidized pass sales program in which students can purchase One Zone or Two Zone Metro bus passes for a 35 percent discount at the Office of Safety and Security.

"It [the old system] sucks," SPU senior Schatzie Miller said, frustrated by the time limits on the passes students were allowed to check out under ASSP in previous years.

"For students who don't have cars, five hours isn't enough time."

Miller said that she wouldn't mind buying her own pass at a subsidized student rate.

Sophomore Megan Simmons agreed. "I wouldn't mind buying it at a student rate...if they could do it that way."

Both were unaware that such a system was already in place at the Office of Safety and Security.

Even Taylor said she didn't know she could buy bus passes during her time as a student.

Students' lack of awareness about their transportation alternatives is something that ASSP and Safety and Security hope to remedy this school year.

"In general, we have a closer connection with the student body than Safety and Security," Pottenger said.

She said she hopes this connection will help raise student awareness of the subsidized pass sales significantly in November when ASSP will begin selling the subsidized passes in a second location -- the ASSP office in the SUB.

As in previous years, ASSP will offer students a peak hours PugetPass, good for five hours on all local Metro buses, in exchange for their school IDs. Fines are issued if students keep the five-hour pass longer than the allotted time.

In addition to the day passes and wider pass sales, there will be one more small but significant change, Pottenger said.

"Just this year we're starting to keep a record of how many passes are going out" Pottenger said.

The previous free pass system only lent out passes and charged students for late returns -- no records of pass check-outs were made.

The check-out rates of free passes are already being recorded, she said.

Also, there will probably be a student survey about the program available by the end of the year, Pottenger said.

She expects the new statistics and feedback received will make a strong case for increased funding from ASSP Senate and quick changes for the program if problems continue.

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