EWU celebrates a decade of the STA Eagle Pass | News
From Spokane Transit Authority:
Nearly one million bus rides were taken last year by students, faculty and staff of Eastern Washington University, thanks to the university’s decade-long partnership with Spokane Transit Authority.
Known as the Eagle Pass, the program was launched in 2003 and allows cardholders unlimited use of STA’s bus system. It is funded by the university and the student body and is a real bargain for participants, particularly students on a fixed income like Katie Myers, an EWU graduate student who says, “the Eagle Pass definitely helps me to keep my waitressing job in Spokane while I’m going to school. The fact that it’s so economical fits my ‘poor-student’ budget perfectly.”
“We are so pleased to have great partners at EWU,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO. “As the Eagle Pass continues to grow in popularity, our 60-foot articulated buses are regularly packed with commuters traveling to and from the university, 23 miles southwest of Spokane,” she said. “EWU also has a Spokane campus and those studying and working there use the Eagle Pass, too.”
Despite an increase in students at EWU from 2002 to 2013, on-street parking occupancy during the peak of the day has fallen from 98% to 81%.
On the other hand, all of the 420 parking spots in STA’s centrally-located Jefferson Park and Ride are regularly filled. It’s no surprise considering Eagle Pass ridership has nearly doubled since 2006.
The Eagle Pass was modeled after the University of Washington’s U-Pass. It is designed to help reduce overcrowding in university parking areas, lower students’ cost of living and meet state-mandated commute trip reduction goals. It also saves cardholders money on fuel, wear and tear on vehicles, and insurance.
Additionally, more than 21 million single occupancy vehicle miles were avoided in 2012, a substantial environmental savings for the Spokane area.
In 2012 EWU extended the Eagle Pass to include the summer quarter so cardholders can ride the bus whenever classes are in session.
Washington State University at the Spokane Campus recently followed suit, launching the WSU Cougar Card at the start of fall quarter 2013. Spokane County and the City of Spokane also have universal transit access pass programs for their employees
EWU reports that approximately 32 percent of Eastern students use the Eagle pass, and that about 18 percent of the faculty and staff utilize the resource as well.