Transit Subsidy/Rate Increase FAQs

The emails USC Transportation sent to the USC community in mid-June regarding the transit subsidy elimination and parking rate increases generated sufficient feedback that we thought this Q&A of some of the more frequently asked questions would be helpful.  Please always feel free to email us at if you have additional questions.

Are the $30/month voucher and subsidy programs really being discontinued?  If so, why?

Yes, they are.  The elimination of the subsidy was carefully considered and compared with other available alternatives.   The university asks all departments to reassess each program every year and compares them to the strategic needs of the university, which often results in the reallocation of resources to ensure high-priority goals can be funded.

Does that mean the transit programs are being discontinued?

No; the individual transit programs are all administered by external public and private companies (Metro, Metrolink, LADOT).  The option to commute using bus or rail will always be there.

I take Metro (monthly or ATAP) – what is the “three free passes” program?

Carpool, Metrolink and LADOT program participants have always been eligible for three free parking passes/month – we are now extending that same benefit to Metro program enrollees for the first time.  All you need to do is pull up to the attendant booth at the Parking Center, give your USC ID card to the ambassador, and identify yourself as a rideshare program participant who wants to use one of their three free monthly passes.  The ambassador will swipe your card to verify that you have not exceeded your three passes monthly, and then issue you a free daily permit that expires at midnight that day.

The Parking Center is inconvenient, can’t we park on campus?

Unfortunately, not during normal business hours; managing the parking on campus continues to be a challenge due to the loss of additional spaces from our inventory (we’re losing Lot 6 and the USC Shrine Lot permanently this summer due to construction), and as mentioned, UPX is the only facility we have where we both have availability and is a safe alternative with both camera and DPS coverage 24/7.  We know it’s less convenient from a location standpoint, but we simply do not have the capacity on campus.  We also provide free bus service to/from the Parking Center to UPC every 10-15 minutes between 6:00am-10:00pm, Monday through Friday.  After the buses stop running, there are additional services until at least 12:45am (campus cruisers), and even more services in the Fall/Spring semesters (extended hours for cruisers, and the return of USC-sponsored Uber service, which will be available between 7:00pm-2:00am, 7 days per week).

What about after 5:00pm, and on weekends?  Are football game days included?

After 5:00pm on weekdays and all day on weekends, you may park in any available, non-reserved stall in any on-campus structure or lot using one of your three free daily passes.  As in the past, you may also use them on football game days.

I participate in one of the programs that already received three free passes/month.  Do I get six now?

No, all enrolled transit program participants can take advantage of the same benefits: pretax payroll deduction, three free parking passes/month, eligibility in the monthly prize drawings, and a year-end gift card for continuous enrollment.

I don’t work on the main campus/don’t drive, so what good are the free passes to me?

If you truly never come to UPC, then that portion of the program has no value for you.  If you do occasionally have to come to campus for business, or ever attend an event or go to a game, then the ability to park for no cost is available.

By offering free passes, you’re incentivizing people who normally take transit to drive to campus instead. 

When the decision was made to eliminate the subsidy, we looked for alternative incentives to help offset that loss.  Along with the raffle and gift cards, one of those incentives was the three free passes.  We believe this was another way in which we could provide additional value back into the program.

I don’t use the buses, campus cruisers, or any other services, why should I have to pay more to help provide them?

USC Transportation is one of the business units of USC, and as such we use the revenue we bring in from multiple sources (citations, reservations, daily parking fees, permit fees, event revenue, bus rentals, etc.) to support the expenses associated with the benefits that service the entire campus community as a whole.

Return to All Alerts & Notices