[IMAGE]IndyGo.jpg[/IMAGE]The S-pass, a joint program by the Indiana Public Transportation Corp. (IndyGo) and the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) that enables students to take advantage of unlimited rides on IndyGo's 29 fixed-route buses, is rolling into its third year.
The program started out of several discussions and meetings between the IUPUI, which has approximately 30,000 students who are mostly commuters, and IndyGo, explained Sarah Knight, IndyGo's manager, marketing and communications.
"While our transit system is not the most robust, the campus is practically downtown and has four IndyGo fixed routes serving/running through campus," Knight said. "Numerous transit agencies have university pass programs and, since IUPUI is a large university in the urban center of downtown Indianapolis, the partnership seemed to be a natural."
In 2006, the agency launched a circulator linking the downtown center and the campus, which served as a great way to get students and faculty used to mass transit, albeit by short trips. In 2007, IndyGo and IUPUI finalized its first agreement to provide transit for all students, using all fixed routes, excluding paratransit and express services.
"For IndyGo, it's a way to develop and grow ridership, especially a new generation of riders that had grown accustomed to cars, not buses," explained Knight. "For the university, they see it as a way to relieve parking stress, provide mobility to those living on campus as well as a sustainable initiative."
IndyGo charges the IUPUI $200,000 annually for the program. All students are eligible for the annual passes, with the funds coming from a general fee assessed to the students by IUPUI. IndyGo does not offer any other annualized passes, — the longest term pass is 31-days — however, last year, it launched the 31-day S-pass program for other area colleges and universities to purchase passes at a discount and either sell back, sell at a discount or give to their students, explained Knight.
S-Pass has continued to grow each year, with usage doubling from 12,534 in June 2008 to 25,869 in June 2010. Knight said the obstacle is making sure the students know about the program.
"What's nice about this school year is that the IUPUI S-Pass was mailed to approximately 20,000 students, along with their purchased parking permits," she said. "Students who do not get the IUPUI S-Pass in the mail can stop by the JagTag office or Campus Parking Services to pick one up."