U-Pass or no pass?

Valley College students will decide whether they want to pay a fee for a subsidized Metro pass in the upcoming spring elections.

By Gabriel Arizon, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The upcoming ASU spring elections will include a transportation fee referendum that will offer a subsidized Metro U-Pass.

In a March 12 Executive Meeting, the ASU approved a referendum that will ask students to vote on a $13 Metro train/bus pass. The cost would be on top of the health fee students already pay. The pass would last per semester — $8 for the winter and summer semesters — and would feature an unlimited number of rides. It will need a majority of “yes” votes to be approved.

“I think it would be very beneficial for students, like me, who are not getting financial aid,” nursing major Samantha Menendez said.

If approved, every Valley College student will be paying for a pass each semester, regardless of their need or usage of it, and there will be no opt-out option. All credit students will be eligible to get one.

A 30-day Metro pass costs $100. Students can buy a monthly $43 pass, but must provide proof of enrollment in an accredited school and are required to be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units for three months. Los Angeles Mission College and LA Trade Tech College each offer their own U-Pass that lasts around a semester, but they cost $135 and $156, respectively, since they are not subsidized.

Besides Valley, LA City College, East College, Mission and Trade Tech are all including a similar referendum in their student elections as well.

According to Dean of Student Life Elizabeth Negrete, a study showed that 19.1 percent of Valley students take the bus and train, while 63 percent use a car (includes whether they drive, carpool or use an Uber/Lyft). Nearly 24 percent said they would take a bus or train if a pass was offered at a reduced price, however.

“My concern is we have a low voter turnout; that whatever decision is made, is going to be determined by a very small group of students,” Dean Negrete said. “I think overall, it’s a good thing to have students pay such a low fee for transportation, but I would understand the other side.”

“I think it’s a good idea, since some students live pretty far from school and are late to classes,” biology major Astrid Cortez said.

The ASU elections start April 22 and run until April 29. Students will be able to vote either on campus or online. If approved, the program is set to last for three years.