Whether it be by train, bus, bike or parachute, UW Tacoma urges you to get to campus in any way — except by driving. Beginning spring quarter 2019, UWT included the universal U-PASS into every student’s tuition cost — paying a mandatory $45 per quarter. James Sinding, auxiliary services manager for Campus Planning and Retail Services, explained the purpose of the campaign.
“The Anything but Driving campaign was meant to coincide with the universal U-PASS implementation to create one more incentive for student[s] to try another mode of transportation,” Sinding said.
The U-PASS is a universal mass transit pass that all UW campuses offer to their students. Prior to this spring, students at UWT had the option to pay the $45 fee to have access to the pass. Now that the cost is mandatory and included in tuition expenses, students, faculty and staff have the option to use public transportation rather than driving and struggling to find parking.
In the Tacoma area, the U-PASS allows students to use a variety of transit services for free, including Metro Transit, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit, Everett Transit and Sound Transit Buses. Students may also use the Sounder commuter train service and paratransit services for free. A Husky Card is required to have a U-PASS, as the card itself has a chip in it that is powered by ORCA to act as your transit pass.
“[This hopefully makes students] pleasantly surprised that transit is not all that bad and see the cost saving as another benefit,” Sinding said.
The Transportation Services department is offering an incentive to students in the form of a $25 gift card to the UW Bookstore for using other modes of transportation. To take advantage of this, students are encouraged to log trips on www.piercetrips.com. Five trips will qualify you for a $5 Starbucks gift card, and 10 trips will qualify you to receive a $25 gift card to the UW Bookstore after 10 trips.
“Logging your trips on Pierce Trips challenge gives us a trackable measurement of how many trips are made but not driving alone,” Sinding said. “So far in just one week of the challenge there have been over 1,000 trips logged. That’s a great success.”
This initiative could help mitigate the stress of getting to campus and finding a place to park for students. With 5,375 students enrolled as of fall 2018 and less than 300 of those students living on campus, commuting to campus is a big obstacle for a majority of UWT students. But the Transportation Services department also has other motives for the program.
“Commuting to campus is the largest contributor to UW Tacoma’s carbon footprint,” Sinding said. “Everyone driving by themselves is not sustainable. Transportation Services goal is to reduce the overall amount of people driving by themselves. We do that through incentives like this Anything but Driving campaign.”
If you do not have a Husky Card, stop by the Office of the Registrar in Mattress Factory room 253 to get one, and to start taking advantage of the U-PASS right away.