Union College has entered an agreement with the Capital District Transportation Authority that will let Union students ride CDTA buses for free.
The private liberal arts college is the latest of more than a dozen colleges and universities in the Capital Region to enter what is called a “universal access agreement,” and it is the last major college to do so.
Under such agreements, the college pays CDTA so students can ride CDTA buses without a cost to themselves. They swipe their student ID cards to ride.
The service started with the new school year in September, said Union student Anna Doran, a senior environmental studies major who led the push for the agreement on campus. Already, she said, there were 240 student riders in September.
“I’m really happy it’s going well, and it’s a really great step for Union,” she said.
Doran, who heads the sustainability efforts of the student forum, launched a student campaign last year after talking with a faculty member about CDTA’s services.
Students have already used the service for trips like getting to internship jobs in Albany, Doran said. CDTA buses make stops at several locations around the periphery of the Union campus.
The agreement also provides better access to transportation for all students, she said, since only upperclassmen are allowed to have cars on campus.
Other schools with CDTA universal access agreements include Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Albany Medical College, the College of Saint Rose, Hudson Valley Community College, Maria College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Skidmore College, Schenectady County Community College, Sage Colleges, Siena College, SUNY Polytechnic and University at Albany.
Universal access agreements now account for more than four million bus trips annually, or close to 25 percent of CDTA’s total ridership, CDTA officials said.
The transit organization serving Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga and Rensselaer counties had a record ridership of 17.1 million boardings last year, and ridership in September was higher than it was in September 2015.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.