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DTA’s U-PASS ridership @ UMD surpasses 5 million mark on Wednesday, January 23

Published: Expires: 2/23/2013

UMD Senior Nicholas DeShaw becomes the 5 millionth U-Pass rider

The DTA’s U-PASS Program at UMD, which began in September of 2000, has surpassed the 5 million rider milestone on Wednesday, January 23, as Nicholas DeShaw prepared to board the Route #11 bus at Kirby Transit Hub.

DeShaw was congratulated by UMD and DTA officials at a news conference inside Kirby Student Center and received a plaque and gift donations from UMD Stores and UMD Food Services.  He has been a U-Pass rider since his sophomore year.

UMD Rider Picture

DTA General Manager Dennis Jensen, Bulldog Mascot, Nicholas DeShaw and Pat Keenan, UMD Director of Student Life Operations

DeShaw is a senior majoring in both Education and American Indian Studies and will start student teaching next fall.  DeShaw, whose hometown is Holland, Michigan, volunteers at the non-profit Avalon Educational Institute in downtown Duluth, where he teaches Marshall Arts, dance and fitness classes.

The U-PASS Program was introduced in September 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 an on-campus transit hub.

U-PASS ridership at UMD has increased every year since 2000 and accounts for nearly 12 percent of the DTA’s annual ridership.  However, during fall and spring semesters, U-PASS ridership accounts for nearly 20 percent of DTA’s system-wide ridership.  U-PASS ridership at UMD has averaged a half-million riders a year since 2008.

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 expansion.

Prior to the establishment of the U-PASS Program in 2000, DTA ridership at UMD averaged just 4,000 a month.  UMD ridership today tops the 4,000 every 2 days.  Since 2000, enrollment at UMD has increased by more than 30 percent to nearly 12,000 students. The only expansion of on-campus housing since 2000 was an addition to Griggs Hall in September of 2011.  No additional parking lots have been constructed on campus since 2000. UMD’s campus expansion and growing enrollment would not have been possible without the transportation of students living off-campus on the U-PASS Program.

U-PASS ridership at UMD reached the 1 millionth rider milestone in March of 2004; the 2 millionth rider in February of 2007, the 3 millionth rider in February 2009 and the 4millionth rider in March of 2011.

The DTA and UMD are contractually committed to continue the U-PASS Program through 2017.

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

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