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American University students report ongoing U-Pass issues for spring semester

Students express frustration with U-Pass problems and University response

American University students have reported issues with U-Pass activation for the spring semester, including cards being reported as “expired” and not functioning properly.

AU University Safety & Security Service announced in an email Friday that a software issue had temporarily disabled U-Passes for some students. The University told students they do not recommend students seek a replacement for U-Passes issued in the fall semester.

According to the email, passes are available for students who were not enrolled in classes or who did not receive a card in the fall.

AU spokesperson Elizabeth Deal said the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and the University do not know the number of cards that have been affected, and that WMATA is still working to determine a solution. 

Sherri Ly, media relations manager for WMATA, told The Eagle in an email that Metro is “honoring any American University students with a U-Pass that may have become temporarily deactivated.”

Isabel Wottowa, a senior in the School of Communication and College of Arts and Sciences, has had issues with her U-Pass since returning from winter break.

“The buses [are] how I get everywhere,” Wottowa said. “There’s no Metro near me. And I got on the other day, and I hit it and [the U-Pass] made the weird beeping noise it makes when it’s not working. And I thought I just didn’t hit it all the way, which happens sometimes, but then it kept happening and kept happening.”

Sami Pye, a senior in CAS, said she experienced difficulties when presenting her U-Pass to bus drivers.

“I mean, [bus drivers have] let me through, but I get yelled at every single time, to the point that … when I get on the bus, I just tap it and keep going,” Pye said.

On Jan. 10, Student Government released a statement informing students they could obtain a new U-Pass at the Don Meyers Building.

Pye said she felt there was a lot of miscommunication over whether to get a new U-Pass. 

“[SG] was like go get your U-Pass, and then immediately Parking Services was like, please don’t get another U-Pass,” Pye said. “I have some friends that went and successfully got a new U-Pass. And then … personally I don’t have time to go to campus just to get a U-Pass.”

SG did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Eagle via email. 

Wottowa said she uses the bus at least twice a day, and issues with the U-Pass program are disappointing.

“When I was explaining the school to people when I first committed I would tell them about the U-Pass program,” Wottowa said. “So I think if they’re going to take as much pride as they do on it, they should make sure that it’s working.”

ewhite@theeagleonline.com 


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