Frequently Asked Questions about the U-Pass


Why the change?  What happened to the free U-Pass Program, and why do students have to pay for the U-Pass now?

The University Bus Pass Program (U-Pass) began in 2003 when parking spaces were displaced in order to construct the Nutwood and State College parking structures. Due to the temporary loss of parking spaces, the U-Pass program was provided to encourage students to use public transit instead of driving a car to campus.

The cost of the U-Pass Program is subsidized 100% by Parking & Transportation with money collected from parking tickets issued. Since 2003, the cost to support the U-Pass Program has increased and has limited the ability to promote other means of commute alternatives. As a result, it is necessary to reduce the subsidy.

Beginning in January 2016, eligible students may purchase a U-Pass for $92 while Parking & Transportation pays the remainder of the cost of ridership each month for the semester. The full price of an OCTA bus pass is $69/month, or $276 for a 4-month semester. This subsidy enables students to take unlimited bus trips for less than $0.77 a day.

Is there a payment plan available? Will it be prorated?

No, there is not a payment plan available, and it will not be prorated. The full $92 is due at the time of purchase.

Would financial aid pay for the U-Pass?

No, financial aid will not pay public transportation service providers directly for transportation costs.

Isn’t the cost covered by the fees we pay each semester?

No student fees are used to cover the cost of the U-Pass program. The Parking and Transportation department is self-supported by user fees and does not receive any state funds or student fees to cover programs provided.

Who / what funds the U-Pass?

The U-Pass subsidy is funded entirely by parking ticket revenue.

I’m an OLLI / ALP / Extended Ed student.  Why don’t I qualify to buy a U-Pass?

The U-Pass is intended to mitigate commute costs as well as parking and traffic congestion for students enrolled in state-supported degree programs.

Do I have to buy a U-Pass every semester?

Yes, students have the option of purchasing one U-Pass each semester.

Can I return it and get a refund?

No, there are no refunds.

My U-Pass is lost / stolen.  Can I get a replacement?

You should treat your U-Pass like cash.  If lost or stolen, the pass cannot be replaced.  Only one subsidized U-Pass purchase is allowed per student each fall or spring semester. 

My U-Pass is defective/ not working properly.  Can I get a replacement?

If you suspect that your pass may be defective, please bring your pass to the Parking office to exchange it for a replacement.

Can I buy a U-Pass for a friend or family member to use?

No, the U-Pass is not transferable.

Will the U-Pass work on the Express bus?

Swiping the U-Pass through the OCTA fare box will deduct $2 off of the cost of the Express bus fare.  The remainder of the Express fare ($2 - $4) must be paid upon boarding.

Can I buy the U-Pass online?  Where can I buy it?

The U-Pass is not available online.  To purchase a U-Pass, please visit the Parking Office Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

I’m not eligible for the U-Pass.  What are my other options?

You may purchase an OCTA 30-Day Pass for $69 at locations where OCTA bus passes are sold.

Who made this decision?  Why?

Parking and Transportation is responsible for overseeing parking facilities and programs, encouraging alternative commute modes, and is tasked with efficiently using the resources available. In order to support critical programs with available funds, it was necessary to make changes to the University Bus Pass Program.  Escalating program costs exceed available funding, and the current 100% subsidy U-Pass program cannot be sustained.  The U-Pass program continues to provide a viable transportation solution for our University and the students we serve by offering an alternative to drive-alone commutes. 

Who can I talk to about this?

For questions about bus passes or for assistance with any commute by alternate transportation, please contact the Transportation Analyst at (657) 278-4405 or email Commute Services at