Brigham Young University announced that it has signed a one-year contract with the Utah Transit Authority, allowing all BYU students the opportunity to ride UTA buses and the TRAX system in Salt Lake City by showing their student-identification cards.
The contract will go into effect May 1, 2003. In the meantime, students can continue to ride the bus system as part of a one-year trial program funded by the Mountainland Association of Governments. All routes are available to students, except those going to the canyon resorts.
BYU entered into this contract after careful analysis, which included an on-line survey of all students, faculty and staff, said Student Life Vice President Jan Scharman.
The results of the survey showed that 79 percent of the 7,263 students who responded were very supportive of the bus program, even though it would mean an increase in student parking fees.
Beginning with fall 2003 permits, BYU's student parking fees will increase from $15 to $60 per year, with motorcycle permits at $15. Graduate students will pay $80. Permits to park free in the lot west of LaVell Edwards Stadium will be available through BYU's Traffic/Parking Division.
Even with the increase, Scharman said BYU's student parking is low when compared to other universities. For instance, University of Utah students pay $120 a year.
"Both in the on-line survey and in open discussions, we found that students were very supportive of the eco-pass program, which allows them to ride the bus with their student-identification cards," said Scharman. "We also found that more students were using the bus, which means less traffic congestion at BYU and in our community. In addition, we believe that as ridership increases, it will help to improve the air quality in our valley."
For a number of reasons -- such as time, inadequate routes and need for a car during the workday -- faculty and staff, on the whole, reported that the program would not be beneficial to them.
Those faculty and staff who would like to participate in the eco-pass program, however, can purchase a year-long bus pass for $60, the same amount undergraduate students will pay for a parking pass.
Until April 30, 2003, all faculty and staff can continue to ride the bus with their BYU identification cards.
For information about UTA's routes and services, please visit http://www.utarideshare.com or call 1-888-RIDE-UTA (1-888-743-3882). UTA's "trip planner" feature on its Web site will also help individuals determine which route and times best meet their needs.
For information about BYU parking permits, please contact BYU's Traffic/Parking Division at (801) 378-3906.