U-Pass Program announced for greater Washington, D.C., metro area
A joint effort between Virginia Tech and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro), the University Pass (U-Pass) program will be launched in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area this fall. The primary objective of this program is to offer access to alternate transportation options for any full-time student enrolled at a Virginia Tech campus in Northern Virginia. Notably, eligibility will be determined based on enrollment location rather than permanent address. The U-Pass program strives to achieve several key goals: fostering new transit ridership, alleviating the demand for on-campus parking, reducing emissions, and enhancing students' connectivity to both their respective campuses and the broader region.
The program aims to provide full-time enrolled students at a Virginia Tech campus in Northern Virginia with alternative transportation options, stimulate new transit ridership, reduce the demand for on-campus parking, decrease emissions, and increase student access to their campus and the region.
"We are thrilled to introduce the U-Pass program in partnership with Metro, as it marks a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance transportation accessibility and sustainability for our students," said Lynsay Belshe, vice president of auxiliary and business services. "By providing access to Metro buses and trains, U-Pass not only offers a cost-effective transportation option, but also encourages our students to make eco-conscious choices. We are excited about the positive impact this program will have on reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and fostering a more sustainable community in the greater D.C. area."
One of the key advantages of the U-Pass program is its potential to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. By encouraging public transportation usage, it effectively decreases the number of vehicles on the road. This collective effort toward a greener future aligns perfectly with Virginia Tech's commitment to environmental consciousness and fostering a sustainable community.
With the introduction of the U-Pass program, timed with the opening of the Potomac Yard-VT Metro Station, students gain affordable and convenient access to the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. This seamless integration of U-Pass and the new Metro station optimizes commuting for students attending the Innovation Campus, Northern Virginia Center, Virginia Tech Research Center — Alexandria, and Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center — each conveniently located near Metro stops. This synergy sets the stage for a well-connected and enhanced campus experience.
“We are excited about the increased opportunities the U-Pass provides, including easier connections to internships, site visits, and all Washington, D.C., has to offer,” said Robin Jones, assistant vice president of student services for the Innovation Campus. “Reducing the cost of getting around the region is a definite benefit for our students as they complete their graduate studies.”
Under the U-Pass program, all eligible full-time students who attend Virginia Tech will be able to take unlimited rides on Metrorail and Metrobus, offering them a cost-effective and reliable transportation option. This initiative not only reduces financial burdens for students but also encourages them to explore the greater Washington, D.C., metro area and access various cultural, academic, and professional opportunities.
"Metro’s U-Pass program continues to create a new generation of transit enthusiasts who share our commitment to sustainable transportation that connects the region," said Metro Chief Customer Experience and Engagement Officer Sarah Meyer. “We applaud Virginia Tech’s strategic vision to ensure students have convenient, affordable transit options by placing their new Innovation Campus next to the brand new Potomac Yard Station and Metroway."
The collaboration between Metro and Virginia Tech exemplifies their shared commitment to providing sustainable transportation solutions that benefit both the student community and the surrounding region. By promoting public transportation, reducing congestion, and improving air quality, the U-Pass program aims to create a more accessible, efficient, and eco-friendly transportation system.
By encouraging students to embrace public transportation, this initiative will boost the efforts of a greener and more livable Washington, D.C., metro area.