Monday, July 18, 2011

Behind the scenes regarding UTA-university negotiations

There's an interesting Deseret News story about how UTA and Beehive State colleges and universities arrive at prices for students' transit passes. In the past, evidently, UTA negotiated yearly prices/contracts individually with each school -- which sunds great for UTA, but lousy for the schools who don't have tough negotiators.

But the really interesting tidbit was reporter Geoff Fattah's report that UTA's ridership is 25 percent students. Wow, that's a lot.

The story is packed with lots of terrific numbers and information. Here's a sampling:

UTA corporate operations officer Jerry Benson said the multi-year contract should also result in the same rates and benefits for all of the state's higher education institutions, meaning all higher education students should have access to bus, TRAX and FrontRunner.

"There were great differences among education institutions," Benson said. "They are basically going to be on the same equal footing."

It will still be up to each institution on how they pass on the cost of the Ed Pass to students. Officials from the University of Utah and Weber State University say passes will still be subsidized through student fees and tuition, and will be offered to all students at no extra cost.

SLCC has offered subsidized passes to students with students paying some out-of-pocket cost. UVU has discussed also having students pay some price out of pocket. Neither SLCC or UVU will know the exact cost until the collective agreement is finalized.

A spokesman for BYU said the university hopes to also participate in UTA's 25 percent discount pass program. Last fall, BYU officials said the school would no longer subsidize student bus passes. The passes are expected to cost around $60 a month.

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