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New fee for UW employee bus pass

April 25, 2013

Photo: Madison Metro bus

A fee will be charged for the UW employee bus pass starting next academic year. But campus bus routes 80, 81, 82 and 84 will remain fare-free.

Photo: Jeff Miller

Due to budgetary concerns and the need to make the UW Employee Bus Pass Program sustainable, the bus pass will cost $24 beginning next academic year.

By comparison, a single ride fare on a Metro bus is $2. Purchasing an unlimited pass at regular rates would cost $696 a year. Approximately 15,000 employees currently hold a bus pass and an average of 7,000 use the pass each month. The passes generate about 1.5 million bus rides annually.

UW Transportation Services will continue to heavily subsidize the $1.8 million per year program.  As an auxiliary enterprise, Transportation Services does not receive any state funding. It charges users in order to pay for parking garages and lots, bus service and federal and state mandated alternative transportation activities.

It costs approximately $20 million to provide these services and programs to the campus community. Rates are set in compliance with university policy to cover only the cost of operating the department, including infrastructure and improvements such as new lots and garages.

Transportation Services, in partnership with the Associated Students of Madison, will continue to fully fund UW–Madison campus bus routes 80, 81, 82 and 84, which will still be fare-free, and riders will not be required to swipe a pass. UW–Madison students will continue to receive a bus pass for use on city routes from ASM and will continue to pay for their bus passes through segregated fees.

The $24 employee pass will be available for purchase in August and will be valid Sept. 1, 2013 through Aug. 31, 2014. Employees will be able to purchase the passes outright or may opt to pay with payroll deduction.

Employees of UW Foundation, WARF/WiCell, Wisconsin Alumni Association, Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association and the Wisconsin Historical Society will continue to acquire their bus passes directly through their employer. Those employers will set their own fees, if any, for passes. 

UW Hospital provides funding for employee bus passes. Therefore, UW Hospital employees will not be charged the $24 fee but will continue to receive bus passes from Transportation Services.

For more information about Madison Metro fare options, please see  For questions on the UW Transportation Services Bus Pass Program, please email