Undergraduate Student Government Sens. Christopher McMorran and Emily Donahue presented the results of their undergraduate transportation survey at Tuesday’s USG meeting.
The survey, which received nearly 960 valid responses, attempted to gauge student interest in providing public transit U-Pass subsidies for undergraduates. It also asked respondents how U-Pass subsidies would affect their current riding habits, their optimal price point and how often they traveled to Los Angeles International Airport.
“I think this has been talked about by a lot of people for a while now,” Donahue said. “The graduate students have it, so I think we were just wondering why it wasn’t available to undergraduates.”
McMorran discussed President Folt’s sustainability plan in relation to transportation goals.
“It’s something that we can make happen, and then, working with senators last year, and [President] Carol Folt coming in and having a big focus on sustainability, has really started the ball rolling, so we’re really excited about that,” McMorran said.
The survey found that free or subsidized public transportation has doubled projected ridership.
Despite 75% of the survey’s respondents identifying as noncommuter students, there was still a large interest in free subsidized public transportation.
“There was still very heavy interest in the program,” McMorran said. “This kind of shocked both of us, the degree to which people were interested.”
“It was good for us to see that this is something that really does matter outside of USG,” McMorran added. “I think that will also encourage USC Transportation and the administration to know that we are representing the students here. This isn’t just us coming up with a little pet project, this is something that will really benefit a lot of people.”
The program could also be used for more than commuting between home and campus.
“Even if you’re not a commuter student, it could benefit a lot of people,” Donahue said. “I have a lot of friends who have to travel for internships, so that would be another really good purpose for this.”
McMorran and Donahue also presented their recommendations for USG’s next steps toward implementing the project. They proposed the implementation of a 50% U-Pass subsidy for undergraduate students beginning in the middle of spring semester or next fall.
“It’s really encouraging that USC Transportation has been really great and really receptive and is definitely looking for the student voice and student perspective,” Donahue said. “I think we’re just kind of waiting for next steps.”
The newly hired executive directors of the Black Student Assembly, Jaya Hinton and Calvin Carmichael, were also presented to the Senate by Senior Director of Programming Montana Houston. The position of assistant director remained vacant due to a lack of applicants for the position, but a secondary election may occur.