Thursday, September 28, 2017

A new transportation initiative offers dramatic cost savings to Gateway Community College students who rely on public transportation to commute to school.

Known as U-Pass CT, the new statewide program makes available to students at Gateway and other participating institutions unlimited travel on CT buses, Metro North commuter rail and CTFastrak for just $20 per semester. The special rate, which is included in students’ tuition payments, represents up to a 95-percent savings over the average price of a monthly bus pass, which costs $63. The student-only rate is available to holders of a valid school ID.

“The U-Pass program is a positive development for Gateway’s 7,000 students, about one-third of whom commute to school by bus or rail,” said GCC interim President Paul Broadie II at a September 11 U-Pass kickoff event hosted by Gateway. “U-Pass CT removes some of the financial barriers transportation poses for some students — and will help make us all a little ‘greener,’” Broadie said.

Inaugurated last month, the statewide U-Pass CT program is available to some 87,000 full- and part-time students at 15 participating universities and community colleges within the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) system, including Gateway. The fall-semester U-Pass covers travel through December 31, 2017.

“U-Pass will make it easier than ever to be a college student in Connecticut without needing a car,” said Commissioner James Redeker of the state’s Department of Transportation. The U-Pass applies to all public-transportation travel by participating students, not just to and from school.

Andrea Lewis of Hamden attends Gateway as a liberal arts and sciences major while also holding down multiple part-time jobs. Before U-Pass, Lewis would take the bus to GCC’s downtown New Haven campus. “But it was really costly for me,” she said. “Plus with other bills I have to pay, sometimes I wouldn’t have enough for the bus. U-Pass makes it a lot easier — it’s less expensive and it’s not coming out of my pocket. It’s $20 out of my tuition. I can just get it, and it’s easy.”

In addition to GCC, community colleges participating in U-Pass CT include Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Asnuntuck Community College, Capital Community College, Manchester Community College, Norwalk Community College, Three Rivers Community College and Tunxis Community College. Participating four-year institutions are the University of Connecticut, Southern Connecticut State University and Central Connecticut State University.

For additional information about U-Pass CT eligibility and availability, contact the GCC Busrar's office at (203) 285-2009.