The University of Maryland's GSG adopted a resolution April 7 to support negotiations between DOTS, RHA and WMATA to develop a student fee to subsidize student Metro fares.
The fee would cost $130 per semester and would allow students at this university access to passes for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's buses and rail services. The resolution passed with 23 votes in favor, two in opposition and two abstentions.
"This shows that there is interest to have better transportation," Adria Schwarber, the author of the resolution, said. "We would want [the fee] to be for all students."
This university's Residence Hall Association voted to support the potential fee in late February. However, RHA's resolution supports a fee for resident students, which would not include graduate students.
The GSG resolution is meant to show this university that graduate students want to be included in the negotiations with WMATA over the fee, said Schwarber, a graduate research assistant in the atmospheric and oceanic sciences department. GSG, RHA and the SGA have maintained close ties this semester to stay informed about the negotiations, she said.
If the fee is introduced, Metro passes would be valid during the fall and spring semesters, Schwarber said. The GSG would also like the Metro cards to be accessible during the summer and winter semesters, she added.
In October, RHA passed a resolution to encourage the Department of Transportation Services to explore the option of subsidizing student Metro usage by implementing a student fee.
[Read more: The RHA's mandatory metro fee is a bad idea]
Negotiations between DOTS and WMATA are still in their early stages, Schwarber said. The next step will be assessing student interest in the fee.
GSG hopes that the fee for the Metro passes would help DOTS save money by eliminating bus routes that overlap with WMATA bus routes, Schwarber said.
"I'm looking forward to having a cheaper transportation option for going to D.C.," Schwarber said. "It's cheaper for the university when it comes to maintaining and running the shuttle."
WMATA currently has a system in place with American University called U-Pass, according to a WMATA spokesman. But it does not have programs with other universities.
The U-Pass program at American University is available to all of its undergraduate, graduate and law students, and began in fall 2016, according the university's website. Every student pays the $130 mandatory fee for unlimited Metro trips throughout each semester.
CORRECTION: A headline on this story previously stated the GSG is in support of the fee. They have adopted a resolution to discuss negotiations. This post has been updated.