This semester marks my third year at Salt Lake Community College, and in those three years I have developed an interesting adversary to my higher education. My enemy is the Utah Transit Authority. I hate to say that my crafty foe has always kept the upper hand.
When I was a bright-eyed freshman starting off my college experience I was handed a UTA bus pass by the college. The price was wrapped into the tuition so I didn’t even have to think about how much money it was. The little pass became my magical portal to the great big world and was worth its weight in gold when I accidentally signed up for two different classes on two different campuses that held class on the same day.
Sadly though, my romance with the magic ticket had to end the next year when the school announced that the card would be null and void and that a new system would be replacing my infinite bus usage. Rumor on campus put blame on UTA, saying that the students were using the passes too much and that UTA was losing money. I could’ve almost gone along with UTA’s excuse if it hadn’t been for the system that took over. The new system was that a monthly bus pass could be purchased at the campus. Those who came early could get it for $15.00 while those who came late got the honor of forking over $50.00 for the privilege of riding the buses. So on top of trying to get through school, I got to play the new game at the end of each month of staking out the office to see when the bus passes came in. To add to the sport of the whole thing, UTA didn’t release the bus passes on the same day each month. Sometimes they would be a few days before the month ended, sometimes on the day of, and a few times they were released a day or two after a month began. There were a few occasions when I would go in a couple of days in advance thinking I was there in time only to be given an unsympathetic shrug and a request to fork over my credit card. Now of course a semester pass was available, but it was (in theory) more cost-effective to just do the $15.00 thing than to fork over the money all at once.
Apparently this game also got boring to UTA this semester so they’ve given you and me a new game to play. The school has once again given me a neat little card, only this time it’s not as magical. Now for $40.00 I can get 30 days of bus use. The race for the $15.00 deal is cut out and in its place I get a fun little workout around campus. Now I have to go to the UTA website, buy the bus pass, print out a receipt for the bus pass and then stand in line with other people while we hold half of the Brazilian rainforest in our hands, all to get the privilege to ride the bus to school.
Honestly this is ridiculous. UTA keeps priding themselves on being so green and customer friendly, yet they have no trouble making people who are trying to get a higher education at the most cost-effective school in the state hand over their hard-earned money just so they can get to school. What’s worse is that there is no alternative. The cost to ride the buses has jumped from $1.50 to $2.25 per ride since I started school. Pretty soon only the rich and elite will be able to use the buses, but even then they won’t care because they have cars.