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TCU Senate, OCL offer discounted MBTA passes

Published: Monday, November 25, 2013

Updated: Monday, November 25, 2013 03:11

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Caroline Geiling / The Tufts Daily

In a joint effort, the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate and the Office for Campus Life (OCL) last Tuesday began sales for round-trip Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) passes. The tickets, valued at $5, are available for $4 at the Mayer Campus Center’s Information Booth. 

According to TCU Vice President Stephen Ruggiero, a senior, these passes are mainly targeted toward student groups in order to help them budget MBTA-related costs. 

In the past, Ruggiero explained, bus and T fares were not subsidized by the university. Only taxicab rides and rented vans could be reimbursed. 

Ruggiero said that now, in order to receive a subsidized ticket, students can fill out an Interdepartmental Requisition (IDR) sheet, necessary to purchase goods or services from the university. After obtaining a signature from any member of TCU Treasury, group leaders can bring the form to the OCL booth to receive passes for traveling students.

Though the student groups have to apply for these passes a week in advance, Ruggiero believes that the passes represent a positive step forward.

TCU Treasurer Adam Kochman said he initially proposed these passes as a solution to logistical problems facing student groups who travel on the T. 

“I was frustrated that students could not get reimbursed for these [MBTA receipts], so I wanted to create a way for students to be able to take the T and have it subsidized by the Treasury because a lot of activities are in Boston where students need to take an MBTA service,” Kochman, a sophomore, said. “Now, with these new passes, I’m hoping student groups will use these because they’re cost effective and cheap.”

Kochman acknowledged that these passes, though beneficial to student groups, are not for regular T users. Individuals who would find them most helpful are those who want to occasionally go in and out of Boston and save a dollar doing it, Kochman said. 

In order to obtain the passes, OCL Director Joe Golia said he contacted the MBTA and purchased passes in bulk at a discounted price. He said the process was simple, as Tufts is a non-profit organization and therefore is eligible for discounts on large purchases. 

Golia added that because passes do not expire, unsold passes at the end of semester can be stored and sold again in the spring semester. He believed it made sense to sell the tickets, as workers in the booth already sell similar passes for such things as movie tickets. 

“Anything we can do to offer another service to students at our information booth is great,” Golia said. “This is very easy for us. Since we already have a system in place of selling things, it’s very easy to do. It’s very easy for us to add one more thing to sell, so this was simple to do. We are happy to distribute these passes.”

Kevin Campbell, president of the Taiwanese Association of Students at Tufts, voiced his perspective as the leader of a student group. 

“I don’t think MBTA costs were ever a reason for student groups not to go to Boston for events,” Campbell, a senior, said. “However, these [passes] are a nice little bonus that we can definitely use. I can already see half a dozen times that these passes can be used in our own club.”

So far, out of the 300 passes available, only a few passes have been purchased, Golia said. While the passes are still very new, he and members of TCU Senate believe that the discounted tickets will be useful to students.

“We are excited about this,” Kochman said. “This was a simple solution to make the lives of students easier and that’s our main goal. ... I think we accomplished some of that with this step. We are excited, and we hope students take advantage of this opportunity.” 

TCU President Joe Thibodeau hopes that groups will utilize the new discounts.  

“We are really hoping that through this, [we] could encourage groups to engage in opportunities in Boston and bring ideas back to these communities to make their events and activities even stronger and more wide-reaching,” Thibodeau, a senior, said. “[Students should] develop contacts with professionals as well as other students in Boston, as there are so many different resources to take advantage of.”

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