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"The U-Pass program opened up the City of Pittsburgh, the region, and all of Allegheny County to our students."

Keith Paylo, vice president of Student Affairs

Over half of full-time Point Park University students made use of the new U-Pass program in its first year. The program, which allows students unlimited public transportation in the city, was available to all full-time undergraduates enrolled in an on-ground degree program. 

Keith Paylo, vice president of Student Affairs, oversaw its implementation. "The U-Pass program opened up the City of Pittsburgh, the region, and all of Allegheny County to our students," he said. "It opened up the doors for internships and co-ops. All those things used to be a hassle, or you had to use Uber or Lyft. Now you can go anywhere."

Students were overwhelmingly happy with the program. According to a survey given at the end of the year, 89% gave U-Pass the highest rating, and 93.6% said they would recommend the program to a friend. 

One survey respondent wrote, "The program allowed me to explore and enjoy my time in Pittsburgh much more." Another wrote, "It's been such a blessing having this U-Pass, especially as an independent full-time student working part-time."

Another student explained how U-Pass was helpful to them in a unique situation: "I had a family member in UPMC Presbyterian Hospital for the months of January and February, so I was able to travel to the hospital on a daily basis to visit them without having to pay. Thank you for making that happen for me." 

The survey indicated the program was used almost equally by commuter (52%) and residential (48%) students.

Paylo had been trying to get the program up and running for over 15 years, but technology issues with the transit system prevented it. Last year, the Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT) developed a new technology solution. Eligible students download an app that gives them access to anywhere PRT travels and accepts mobile ticketing, including bus routes, the incline and some T (light rail) stations.

“Once they revised their technology, it opened the door up for us to be part of it. As soon as that happened, we jumped on it. We said, 'What's it going to take? We want to be a part of this,'” Paylo said. Though there were some hiccups early on, Paylo found PRT to be very accomodating. 

Desmond McCoy, director of student life, manages the U-Pass program. Considering the success of the first year, he said the only plan for change is to improve communication with students about the program — both to promote its use and give students the information and tools (such as recommended apps) they may need to use it to its full potential. 

Sign up online to activate your U-Pass account.