What is the 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.

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 spring 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 transit@uw.edu.


UW Tacoma Universal UPASS for Students

What is a UPASS?

The U-PASS is a bus pass and more. It gives faculty, staff and students access to a complete package of low-cost transportation options — from buses and commuter train service to discounted vanpooling.

The U-PASS allows you to ride the bus anytime, anywhere without paying fare — it is even good on the Sounder Train! More than a dozen Pierce Transit routes serve the UW Tacoma campus.

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.

Participation in the U-PASS program requires a valid Husky Card. Temporary, hourly employees are not eligible for a U-PASS.

UPASS benefits

Holders of the faculty/staff U-PASS additionally have access to:

Student Universal U-PASS

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.

A current Husky Card (with the purple front and your photo) is required. If you do not have a current Husky Card, stop by the Office of the Registrar in Mattress Factory 253.

ORCA Smart Cards transition

The U-PASS is now enabled as an ORCA Smart Card for use on regional transit. More about this transition here.

Using your U-PASS

Once your U-PASS is ready to use, you simply hold your Husky ID card up to the bus reader, or show it to the driver. That's it! You might be asked to present identification when using your U-PASS. The pass is the property of the University of Washington Tacoma. A U-PASS cannot be used by anyone other than the person to whom it was issued and cannot be sold or transferred. Misuse will result in confiscation of the card.

Using your U-PASS on the Central Link light rail or the Sounder train? Be sure to tap on and tap off upon entering and exiting the station.

Emergency ride home for employees

Are you afraid that leaving your car at home means you won't get home quickly if an emergency arises? Smart commuters know that carpooling, vanpooling, riding the bus, biking or walking are smart ways to get to work. Now smart commuting is even smarter! UW Tacoma contracts with Pierce Transit for the Emergency Ride Home as part of our Commute Trip Reduction program. Any day you are a smart commuter and an emergency comes up, you are eligible for a taxi ride home. And best of all, it's absolutely free!