UW-Green Bay, city renew U-Pass ridership agreement another year

GREEN BAY — The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the city of Green Bay Wednesday (June 17) renewed an agreement that lets members of the campus community ride city buses for free with a valid University ID card.

The one-year U-Pass agreement will last July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010. It can be renewed on an annual basis.

UW-Green Bay will reimburse the city $35,000 from campus parking permit funds and student fees for the unlimited use of city bus services.

The University and the city had a successful one-year pilot agreement that started in July 2008, UW-Green Bay Dean of Students Sue Keihn said.

“The U-Pass program was very popular among students, faculty and staff in the last year,” Keihn said. “I know the campus community is excited about having this program renewed and we look forward to using and promoting the city’s mass transit system.”

Ridership numbers from UW-Green Bay campus members were strong, said Chris Phelps, Green Bay Metro transit director.

“The first year of the U-Pass partnership resulted in real transportation solutions for students, faculty and staff,” Phelps said. “Green Bay Metro is pleased to continue this partnership for the upcoming school year as ridership has shown a need to continue this service.”

Ridership from the campus community peaked at more than 6,200 riders in the month of September, as students returned to campus and gas prices hovered at more than $3.50 per gallon.

In the last six months of 2008, Green Bay Metro estimates more than 24,200 riders used the U-Pass program. In the first four months of 2009, nearly 12,000 riders have used U-Pass with steadily increasing numbers as the weather warmed, according to city estimates.

As part of the agreement, UW-Green Bay will promote bus ridership through campuswide newsletters and information available at University Ticketing Services, have ongoing promotions or special events throughout the year in conjunction with the Student Government Environmental Committee, include U-Pass information in Admissions publications that are sent to prospective students and periodically present a Green Bay Metro video on the campus television station.

Green Bay Metro is looking to make route changes that are more convenient to UW-Green Bay campus users. The changes will mean shorter ride times to campus from the Green Bay Transit Transfer Station, and vice versa, and routes that include more frequent stops on Humbolt Road, a popular neighborhood for student residents.

Green Bay Metro also plans to adjust routes that will bring additional destinations to UW-Green Bay, including Target and Copps in Bellevue, and the Marcus Theatre and Aurora Baycare Medical Center in the Interstate-43 industrial park south of Mason Street, Phelps said.

The city will also provide two shelters on campus, an advertising campaign promoting UW-Green Bay and the U-Pass program, and buses to the annual Student Shopko Night, a late-night sale at the east side Shopko store intended for college students.

Both the city and the University are exploring the development of direct morning and afternoon bus routes between the transfer station and campus to facilitate faster trips to and from campus and encourage ridership.