Ode to the U-PASS

Ode to the U-PASS
Thanks to Creative Commons

On this beautiful summer day, what should I do?
Off to the zoo,
The sky is blue!
All will be grand,
Maybe I’ll play in the sand…
Just a few “L” stops away,
Ah what a day–
In goes my U-Pass….. then *CLUNK*

*CLUNK* is that horrible sound of your hip-bone painfully smacking against an unforgiving CTA turnstile, meaning you, as a Chicago college student, no-longer have access to one of the best public transit systems in America.

Why, might you ask?

The dreaded day has arrived: your U-Pass expired.

The U-Pass: that wonderful CTA pass most Chicago college students receive with tuition that allows unlimited access to public transportation while in school for around $80 per semester. However, these little plastic get-any-where-free cards expire at the end of each semester; JUST as we actually have time to explore the city and take full advantage of access to public transportation.

The U-Pass is a luxury we take for granted! During the year we swipe without a second thought, travel North/South/East/West like we’re Amtrak.  We place that transit gold in our wallets, like it’s just another accessory to fill a slot, as though it occupies the same place in our hearts as a credit card, or frequent fro-yo buyer reward card.

Until you decide to stay in Chicago for the summer. Then, just as that hot summer sun rises over Wrigley Field, miles of beaches, new summer internships, and grocery stores with food you finally have money to buy, you’re rudely awoken from the U-Pass dream, into a cold-transitless world (inhale exhale deeply).

Now, two weeks into summer, the U-Pass life seems like a distant dream.Getting off at Addison to see your boyfriend and making pit stops at Thorndale to make a quick Dominick’s run are nostalgic luxuries you remember as you make the most of that $2.25 per ride. The little things add up:

Individual ride: 2.25

1-day pass: $5.75

3-day pass: $14

7-day pass: $23

30-day pass: $86

Despite this, we have to let that blissful U-Pass life go. Summer is the most fun time of year (concerts, beach time, food, baseball), so we cannot keep avoiding taking the “L”!  Bite the bullet, fork over the cash for that 30-day pass and find a way to get through the golden gates of the “L” platform at any cost!

At least until next semester.

Do you love the U-Pass as much as we do?  Do you think there should be a cheaper option for students in these summer? Do you also like to write poems about inanimate objects like us?  Let us know!  Let your inner poet comment below, or tweet us a haiku about the U-Pass @Chicago_U.

By: Laura Kujava and contributions from Karis Hustad

Filed under: Uncategorized


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  • On the other hand, apparently some students take that it is a mandatory addition to the tuition in a blase manner.

    I wonder what percentage would buy it voluntarily.

    And, as frequently pointed out on the CTA Tattler, don't take your iPhone along for the adventure, if you want to take it home.

  • Time limits all things.
    Freedom, wanderlust enjoy.
    Till U-Pass, U-Pass.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Beautiful! Isn't the U-Pass inspiring?

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