By Danny Contreras
On August 26th, 2013 CCSU began its first year providing students with U-Pass, a CT Transit-valid boarding pass that can be used in every major metropolitan area in Connecticut, including Hartford, New Britain and New Haven.
The U-Pass will not only provide commuters from nearby towns a chance to save money on gas, but also to save money from buying the CT Transit Monthly Pass which is priced at $47. The U-Pass will primarily replace the CCSU Shuttle Bus.
While the Shuttle Bus provided rides to CCSU at certain intervals during the day, U-Pass allows students to travel to CCSU at their convenience, and the experience is by far more enjoyable than waiting for the Shuttle. At times, the Shuttle service becomes unreliable—especially given the intervals at which it stops.
Overall, the U-Pass program is one that will be better integrated in the future as CT Transit builds their CT Fastrak program which will include rail services from Hartford to New Britain; the program offers commuters a chance to bypass traffic on I-84 and local roads.
From a personal experience, the U-Pass is a much needed cost-saver. The service also provides flexibility with my schedule that I could not enjoy with the Shuttle Bus service. In addition to saving me $188 over the course of a semester, it allows me to do any errands before or after my classes. Additionally, it allows me to plan for more activities on campus that the Shuttle Service would otherwise not allow me to reach on time.
It also helps the student with travel expenses outside of CCSU. The CT Transit services that work from Downtown Hartford connects to major hubs in West Farms’ Mall, Manchester, East Hartford, West Hartford and Middletown. It allows students who need part-time work to get jobs in any of the surrounding cities, including New Britain.
U-Pass is a service from CCSU is a welcomed advantage. It connects commuters to CCSU, and residents to major hubs where they can maximize New Britain’s proximity with Hartford, Manchester and West Hartford. It provides students with a chance to explore New Britain’s Art Museum or Hartford’s Wadsworth Athenaeum.
The pass works from when it is issued until the end of the semester. The opportunities offered by the U-Pass are more than just convenience; it is a symbol of connectivity and one that resonates throughout CCSU.
Is it better than the service it replaced? Yes. Can it be improved? Only if it gives us superpowers: the U-Pass is by far one of the best things offered at CCSU this year.