Students with old IDs should get to ride too

For being a good student by taking care of your USF ID card, you have to pay $10 – if you want to ride the HARTline, that is. In Tuesday’s Oracle, it was reported that all students who ride the HARTline buses will need a new-logo ID card to be able to use U-Pass when the program’s contract is renewed in December.

There are concerns about fraud being committed by people who have been out of USF for years, using their green ID cards to ride HARTline for free. This is a legitimate concern, but there is still room for manipulation of the system, even with the new IDs. People who recently graduated from USF may have a new-logo ID and could get by with riding for free, even though they are technically no longer affiliated with USF.

An idea for card-swiping technology on buses has also been proposed to ensure those using U-Pass are indeed affiliated with USF, but the logistics and money for this concept are not concrete as of yet.

Through the new conditions in the contract renewal of U-Pass, the University has found another way to extract money from the students. It may be a mere $10 that a green ID-holding student has to pay to get a new-logo ID, but it is the principle behind the actions that is the matter at hand.

Take, for example, two hypothetical USF students. One of them began school in fall 2002 and has an old ID. The other started in spring 2004 and got a new ID. Both of those students have taken good care of their ID cards, making sure not to lose them or bend them. These two students also ride the HARTline, using their ID cards as part of the U-Pass system.

To continue riding the buses, the student with the old-logo ID will have to purchase a new ID, while the student with the new-logo ID does not. This penalizes a student, in essence, for starting on their education earlier and getting an ID before the redesign, a factor that the student has no control over.

If the University is set on students having the new-logo ID, then each student who has an old-logo ID that is in good condition should have their ID replaced with a new-logo ID for free. This will ensure that everything is fair and no one is penalized for having an ID that is in good condition, but just happens to be outdated.

To prevent the Card Center from being overwhelmed with people trying to update their cards, a time could be set aside each day for this purpose alone so the Card Center does not lose out on their regular business. This makes more sense than punishing students who take good care of their cards.