By Kristin Della Vecchio
On January 9, 2014, Transportation Panelist, Beau Morton (Assistant Secretary of the Transit Riders Union), Kate Whiting (Field Director of the Transportation Choices Coalition), Chelsea Levy (Government and Communications Relations Officer for Sound Transit), and Jake Fey (Vice Chair of House Transportation Committee) came to the University of Washington Tacoma to discuss potential public transportation and much more. Representative Fey was upfront and honest with listeners, discussing what has taken place in prior years with transportation, and what is likely to happen in the years to come. Currently there is no 2015 Transportation Package; however, there will be updates later on this matter as the Transportation Package changes yearly. As Ben Laskey, University of Washington Tacoma Student Government Legislative states, “Further plans for transportation are currently being discussed. As a ASUWT representative, I am doing everything in my power to ensure that our students voices are accounted for.”
Chelsea Levy, Government and Communications Relations Officer for Sound Transit, Chelsea Levy, discussed future plans and expectations for the Link Rail. As of Fall, the Link Rail will be charging a fee of $1.00, but the U-PASS will cover this fee.
The U-PASS is a bus pass that can be used on the Sounder Train, soon the Link Rail, and many more means of transportation. During the beginning of the Quarter, students can opt–in for a U-PASS when they sign up for their classes. The pass costs $45.00, is added into your tuition fee, and covers transportation for the entire quarter. The U-PASS covers the total expense on Metro Transit, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit, Everett Transit, and Sound Transit Buses. It also fully covers Sound commuter train services and paratransit services, as well as over a dozen Pierce Transit routes. To participate in the transportation program, a Husky card will be needed. For more information about the U-PASS visit www.tacoma.uw.edu/getting-campus/what-u-pass.
Megan Nation briefly spoke about the Transportation Panel and how vital this event was. She stated, “There has been a reduction in transportation; routes have been cut, and this has inconvenienced many. This problem has resulted in the inequality – how will people get to where they are going with no transportation? This creates a problem. This event has been organized to raise awareness, not only about the transportation cut, but also to make this issue known.”
Updates will be given on whether the University of Washington Tacoma will have a 2015 Transportation Package.