With subway fares on the rise and the University’s purchase of The Gallery in Virginia, the administration should work to ensure a Metro student discount. Public transportation discount programs for college students already exist in cities such as Chicago, Atlanta and Cleveland, but D.C. has yet to create one of its own, although is has been an issue since Metro began in the 1970s.
The D.C. Department of Transportation has begun talks with area universities to implement a “U-Pass” that would give District college students unlimited Metro use for a $75 per semester fee tacked onto tuition bills. While this is a good start, the proposal is not in all students’ best interest.
Student Association Executive Vice President Eric Daleo has been one of the only voices for GW students in this important endeavor. Daleo is a member of the D.C. Metro University Student Alliance, a group of students active in area student governments. Their talks with the city have produced the possible unlimited use for $75 per semester system. While this might be a great discount for some students that use the subway frequently, it would be a wasted expense for students that rarely use public transportation. It takes a lot of trips to spend $150 in Metro fares per year – for most students this would not be a discount, but another needless fee.
This should be an optional program, but the city seems to say it must be all or nothing – either every student pays the fee or nobody gets a discount.
The administration should work with the city on students’ behalf. The city is more likely to work out a better deal with administrators than with student groups. A discount would be a great advantage to students living in the new Virginia properties and for their friends who want to visit them.