Neehaar Gandhi

In early March, the Graduate Student Assembly and representatives from other professional schools filed a motion calling on the Yale administration to partner with the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s U-Pass CT program, which entitles enrolled students to free public transportation within the state.

In the motion, the assembly and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate’s leadership identified the U-Pass program as a means of achieving better student access to transit in the region and expressed support for the University’s advocacy for infrastructure development in New Haven.

U-Pass CT allows students at participating institutions to access free transportation on public bus services as well as on the CT Rail Hartford Line, Shoreline East and Metro-North Railroad up to the New York border. A change in CT Department of Transportation policy has now made it possible for private institutions to participate in the program. Participating institutions must pay $20 per enrolled student in the U-Pass partnership, according to the Department of Transportation.

Assembly Chair of Transit and Security Fabian Schrey GRD ’19 said that the U-Pass would be particularly useful for graduate and professional students whose lives are less centered around Yale’s campus. Graduate students often commute from outside of New Haven and tend to do most of their shopping outside of downtown. U-Pass, Schrey said, would allow these students to have fewer obstacles on their way to inexpensive groceries, housing and work opportunities. Many professional students have internships over the weekend in New York City or elsewhere in Connecticut and would enjoy free or discounted travel, Schrey told the News.

“It is not yet guaranteed that Connecticut would allow only grad students to sign up,” Schrey said. “At the moment, we don’t know … if Yale will decide to sign up for U-Pass and … if CT Transit will allow them to sign up. All we really want is to show [by passing the motion] that U-Pass would make a difference in grad and prof student life.”

Representatives from the Yale College Council have convened with the assembly and are exploring how to advance enrollment in U-Pass as a common goal.

YCC Finance Director Kahlil Greene ’21 said that he and the YCC business team have been exploring how to partner with U-Pass so that the New Haven area can become more accessible for students.

“It’s definitely slated as one of the big YCC goals of the future, we’re making sure transition on the project is thorough and we’re super excited that both student government bodies have a shared goal to achieve,” Greene explained.

John Besche |