MARC honored seven local projects and programs that set an example for creating sustainable places in the metro at its annual Sustainable Success Stories event on Nov. 30. The University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC) and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) were honored for their popular U-Pass transit pass initiative that allows UMKC students to ride Metro buses by swiping their student ID. The service is paid for by a universal UMKC student fee and is operated in partnership with the KCATA.
The project seeks to reduce the number of single-passenger vehicles on campus as parking is a perennial student complaint. The U-Pass provides an environmentally friendly, economical and easy way for students to get to campus. The program introduces transit to people at a time in their lives when they are open to trying new things. During the 2011–2012 school year, 2,279 unique students took advantage of the U-Pass, contributing to an increase in Metro ridership. Ridership for the first half of 2012 was up 8.9 percent. Because the UMKC campus is centrally located, KCATA did not need to add more bus routes.
Sustainable Success Stories is part of an ongoing community dialogue focused on building a better understanding of sustainable practices that have the potential to transform our community into “America’s Green Region.” By sharing local successes and challenges, we can enable community partners to learn about and replicate locally tailored, high-impact sustainability practices.