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DTA’s U-PASS ridership at UMD tops 4 million mark

Published: Expires: 4/2/2011

The DTA’s U-PASS Program surpassed the 4 million rider milestone at UMD on Wednesday, March 2nd, when Junior, Justin Oppegard was lined-up to board the Route #13 bus at UMD’s Kirby bus terminal.

Justin is a Communications major at UMD and rides the DTA to and from campus every day from his apartment on East Fourth Street. “The U-Pass Program at UMD is a great service,“ he says. “It’s convenient and best of all free!” Justin says he appreciates not having to drive his car to campus and paying to park every day. When Justin returns home to West St. Paul during the summer, he operates a landscaping business with his brother.

U-PASS ridership at UMD has increased substantially since 2000 and has accounted for nearly 12 percent of the DTA’s over-all ridership during the same time period. However, during fall and spring semesters when school is in session, U-PASS ridership at UMD accounts for nearly 20 percent of DTA’s system-wide ridership.

The U-PASS Program was introduced in Fall Semester of 2000 as an innovative partnership between UMD and the DTA to encourage greater use of public transportation on campus by providing unlimited rides for students, faculty and staff and building on-campus transit hub.

Prior to the implementation of the U-PASS Program, DTA ridership at UMD averaged just 4,000 a month. UMD ridership today tops the 4,000 rider mark in only 2 days.

The U-PASS Program was designed to reduce on-campus traffic and address the construction related reduction of campus parking. More than 700 campus parking spaces have been eliminated since 2000, due to on-campus construction at UMD.

Since 2000, when the U-PASS Program was instituted, UMD has experienced a phenomenal 23 percent increase in enrollment. UMD enrollment is currently at an all-time high with more than 12,000 students. The U-PASS Program has been very instrumental in accommodating the transportation needs of this increased enrollment.

U-PASS ridership at UMD reached the 1 millionth rider milestone in March of 2004; the 2 millionth rider in February of 2007; and 3 millionth rider in March of 2009.

The College of St. Scholastica and Lake Superior College joined the U-PASS Program in 2001 and University of Wisconsin, Superior joined in 2007.

4 millionth u-pass rider accepts his award

PHOTO CAPTION: UMD Chancellor Lynn Black recognizes UMD Junior, Justin Oppegard, as the 4 millionth U-Pass rider at UMD. DTA General Manager Dennis Jensen (on left) and Aaron Bransky, President DTA Board of Directors, join in the ceremonial presentation.

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