The MavCard, the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s campus card, will soon double as a student bus pass.
According to a report from Omaha.com, the expansion to the university’s ride program will provide free bus rides to all students, faculty and staff, and beginning January 2, riders can swipe their MavCards on any Metro bus route across the city. There will be no required registration for the new program, as any active UNO card will automatically be ready for use.
As an ancillary benefit to the newly expanded bus policy, university officials expect the universal availability of free rides will help to alleviate the typically busy on-campus parking. Parking can be a struggle for any university during peak hours and spaces are usually at a premium. The university plans to break ground on a new parking garage, but a central focus for Omaha is making it more convenient for students and staff to utilize buses, ride bikes or carpool to campus.
The program essentially provides students and staff with a free bus pass for use to and from campus. With the new expansion of free rides, however, university officials believe more students could leverage public transit for trips to the grocery store or to reach other parts of the city of Omaha, beyond just campus commuting.
UNO’s parking services office and the student government will split the cost of the expansion, which carries a flat annual fee of $60,000 regardless of the number of rides taken. The university’s contract with Omaha transit body, Metro, runs through 2018.