Student ID – a ticket to ride

Following parking increases and proposed tuition increases, at last some good news for students.

HARTline, Hillsborough County’s transit service, and the USF are teaming up to provide a free and effective transport system for faculty and students around USF and Hillsborough County. If approved by HARTline directors, the transit program could be up and running by fall.

The Bull Ride Transit Pass will allow faculty and students to ride any HARTline route within Hillsborough County for free with the use of their USF ID.

USF will pay HARTline an annual fee for the service funded through USF parking fees and the special fee that students pay to use the Bull Runner on-campus shuttle.

“Students and faculty cannot board any HARTline express route, and they must present their identification cards before boarding HARTline,” Greg Sylvester, director for Parking and Transportation Services, said.

The program, known as U-Pass, sprung from a study titled Unlimited Access, which was implemented by Donald Shoupe at the University of California at Los Angeles’ Institute of Transportation Studies.

Sylvester said USF will gain similar benefits from U-Pass as those at UCLA. He said the U-PASS program reduces parking demand on campus, reduces congestion on feeder roads, increases access to housing and employment, helps to recruit and retain students and reduces transportation costs that affect college expenses.

Sylvester said that the program also provides benefits for HARTline. It will increase ridership and improve transit services, and the program could be extended to other colleges and universities in Hillsborough County, creating a regional impact.

Sylvester said HARTline and USF are still negotiating. HARTline must also get final approval from its board of directors.

“We hope to have it running by the fall, but there is no guarantee of that happening,” Sylvester said.