Students at American University are getting an exclusive student pass for Metro starting this fall, and they’re not alone: Howard University is also planning to launch a partnership with Metro that’s aimed to begin in time for the upcoming semester, according to a spokesperson for the university.
Earlier this year, Metro announced plans to strike up a deal with American to provide affordable passes to students. On Tuesday, the transit agency offered more details on the program, which will start in August: The U-Pass program will provide all-access SmarTrip cards to full-time undergraduate, graduate, and law school students, who will be required to purchase the passes as part of their enrollment fees for $130 per semester.
With 10,000 American University students enrolled, the one-year pilot program is expected to bring in $2.7 million for Metro. In a poll of American University students last March, 85 percent of those who responded said they were in favor of launching the problem, which charges $1 per day of use.
Metro is in talks with other local universities to establish similar programs. Howard University spokesman Anthony Owens confirmed Wednesday that the school plans to sign on to a similar pilot program in time for the fall semester, which will also offer Metro passes at $130 per semester. Metro spokesman Richard Jordan said discussions are still ongoing.
Metro’s partnership with local universities comes as part of a push to find new revenue sources to help fund transit operations; similar programs have been tested in Chicago, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.
The University of the District of Columbia plans to finalize its own partnership with Metro aimed at launching sometime in 2017, UDC spokeswoman Michelle Pourciau said Wednesday. But UDC will likely use a different pricing structure from American’s and Howard’s U-Pass program, she said.
“Our population — we have mainly commuter students who are coming at all times of the day and in the evening, and we have a good population of part-time as well as full-time students,” Pourciau said. “It’s a little bit of a different type of travel … so we’re expecting our program to be a little different.”