Student U-PASS

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Students U-PASS Winter 2021

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and in consultation with UW leadership, UW Tacoma has decided to waive the Universal Student U-PASS fee for winter quarter 2021. This is in response to public health directives on social distancing, area transit agencies’ decisions to temporarily stop collecting fares, and the move to online instruction for spring quarter. If you would like to opt into the U-PASS program for Autumn quarter you can submit the Studnet U-PASS Request form and the fee can be added to your account.

To receive your refunds faster and in the safest manner, Student Fiscal Services recommends that you set up Direct Deposit. If you prefer to receive a check, please make sure that your local address on MyUW is correct. You can verify and change your address by logging into MyUW and clicking on “change of address”. Please note that delivery of the check will take 7-10 business days.

With the waiver of the fee, your U-PASS will be deactivated for summer quarter. The exception is Academic Student Employees who will continue to have an active U-PASS under the terms of their collective bargaining agreement.

As mentioned above, transit agencies are not currently collecting fares and so rides are effectively free, however should be taken sparingly due to social distancing directives designed to stem the outbreak. Should area transit agencies reinstate fares prior to the end of the quarter, you will have the option of purchasing a U-PASS from Transportation Services at a prorated rate.

If you have further questions or feedback, please reach out to Transportation Services at


UW Tacoma Universal U-PASS for Students

To ensure revenue sufficiency for the program, students were asked if they supported a mandatory fee to keep the cost of the UPASS per student at $45.00 per quarter. UW Tacoma students were asked through a survey if they supported this shift from opt-in to universal, it was approved with a 67 percent approval rating. As the program is implemented, more students will utilize public transportation and shift the campus commute mode to more sustainable options and have a direct impact as fewer students will choose to park on and around campus. It is through incentives and programs like this that TS strives to shift the campus’s commute mode split to more sustainable options.

Universal Student U-PASS Timeline

Board of Regents UW Tacoma Student Universal UPASS

Student U-PASS

The U-PASS is a bus pass plus more. Loaded right onto the Husky Card, the U-PASS provides students with a variety of low-cost transportation options—from unlimited rides on buses, commuter train service and light rail, to vanpooling and discounted impromptu carpooling.

With a U-PASS, it's easy to save money and tread softly on the environment by choosing alternatives to driving alone. Or consider "mixing up your commute"—using an alternative when possible, driving when necessary.

Student U-PASS is a universal program for eligible students on the Tacoma campus. All students who pay the Service & Activities Fee (SAF) are automatically U-PASS members and are required to pay the U-PASS fee. Students not eligible for a universal U-PASS can purchase U-PASS membership.

Universal student U-PASS members

Under the Memorandum of Understanding, The following students are automatically U-PASS members through universal student U-PASS:

  • Students registered in state-funded courses (except students who are part of the state tuition exemption program); and
  • Students registered for classes and enrolled in a fee based degree major through Professional & Continuing Education (PCE) who pay the Services and Activities Fee (SAF).

Universal U-PASS Fee

  • $45.00 for currently enrolled students
  • $20.00 for currently enrolled students that reside within Thurston County

The quarterly U-PASS fee that appears on student tuition statements allows students to access the benefits of U-PASS membership, including:

Universal student U-PASS benefits

When can I use it on transit?

New members

If you registered Your U-PASS will be active
Nine or more days before quarter start one week prior to quarter start
less than nine days before quarter start 24 to 48 hours after you register

Continuing members

To maintain your U-PASS activation between quarters, you must be registered for classes nine days prior to the next quarter start. If you do not do this, your U-PASS will be deactivated and will be reactivated for transit 24 to 48 hours after you register.

Not registered for summer quarter? Unfortunately, you are not eligible to purchase a student U-PASS for the summer, but may be eligible to purchase a TEMP Pass if you meet the criteria for a UW temporary, hourly employee.


To finalize the activation of your U-PASS for use on transit, you must tap your card on an ORCA card reader within 60 days of U-PASS issuance. Tapping your card on the ORCA reader updates your chip and finalizes activation of your U-PASS for transit. Students who do not finalize activation within 60 days must submit a Reactivation Request. Your U-PASS will be available for transit 24 to 48 hours after you submit your reactivation request. Important U-PASS dates.

Reporting a problem with your U-PASS

If you tap your U-PASS powered by ORCA on an ORCA card reader and you don’t get a beep and green light, try again making sure to tap your card on the ORCA logo at the center of the card reader and hold it there for several seconds. Also make sure you separate your Husky Card from any other cards you may have that include RFID technology.

If you still do not get a positive response, contact Transportation Services at 253-692-5926 as soon as you are able. Please provide the following:

  • Your name and UW ID#
  • Name of the transit agency you were taking
  • The route number
  • Destination
  • The time you boarded the bus or train
  • Bus vehicle number (This is found inside the bus above the bus windshield, as well as on the sides, front and rear of the bus. See pictures below.)

Graphic on how to find the bus number