Staff Editorial: Dust off that U-Pass

A black-and-white illustration of a MetroLink train passing through a station.

Illustration by Camden Maggard

Early during welcome week, first years are given three plastic cards, along with a thick stack of paperwork. The first two — the Student ID card and room key — are slid in and out of phone wallets every day. They get scratched, worn, and usually lost a few times. But the third card, the Metro U-Pass that WashU gives to students to ride the public transportation system, can stay unused in the welcome envelope.  

The U-Pass program gives WashU students a chance to explore the city beyond the reaches of WashU’s shuttle transportation system. Public transportation options include MetroLink and the bus, which are much more affordable (and thus, often more equitable) options than ride-share apps to navigate the city. 

Due to the flooding in July, some public transportation (namely the MetroLink) has been subject to inconsistent schedules and delays. However, for those new to St. Louis, don’t let this color your opinion of the Metro, or dissuade you from using it if you are able. 

St. Louis can be an intimidating place to navigate without a car, and first-year students often let that define their relationship with the city at large. Still, there are so many neighborhoods to explore, and so many fun stores and adventures just a MetroLink ride away. 

Paul Mitchell The School St. Louis

Transit: 19 minute bus ride (from Mallinckrodt) on MetroBus 1; two minute walk

Want to get a haircut or a manicure at an affordable price that’s close to campus? My go-to salon is the Paul Mitchell The School St. Louis located in Central West End. All the stylists are actually students who are training to work at professional salons. To gain real work experience and build their portfolio, Paul Mitchell students provide a wide range of services through their school salon at a discounted price. You can get a haircut for just $12, dye your hair for less than $30, or get your nails done for $8. And you can even get a student discount with your student ID card! Just call ahead of time to ask which days and services they offer student discounts. 

— Cynthia Chong, Junior Multimedia Editor & Head of Social Media

Sports, Sports, and more Sports

Transit: 20-25 minute MetroLink ride leaving from either University City-Big Bend or Skinker station to Union, Civic Center, or Stadium 

There is something uniquely exciting about taking public transportation to a game. (Almost) everyone is wearing the same jersey, united around the same mission: to see the Cardinals, Blues, and soon, St Louis City FC win. You feel as if you are a part of the team, arriving at the station and immediately walking into Enterprise or Busch with hundreds of like-minded people. More practically, driving and parking at stadiums is truly a nightmare. The fact that each major sports team in St. Louis plays walking distance from a Metro station is not something to take for granted. Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks, but I do care how I come back; it should be on the Metro. 

— Jared Adelman, Senior Multimedia Editor

Mini Golf at Union Station 

Transit: 25-30 minute MetroLink ride from either Big Bend or Skinker stations (Eastbound) 

Union Station used to be the home of Upper Limits Indoor Rock Climbing Gym (RIP). Since they were forced to close last week, students are no longer able to enjoy easily-accessible-by-transit bouldering sessions. However, that doesn’t mean you should cross Union Station off your list of Metro stops. Union also houses an 18-hole mini golf course, open until 10pm all weekends and weekdays. With a $10 entry, it’s much cheaper than a ferris wheel ticket, or even a day pass at the now-extinct climbing gym. Afterwards, you can enjoy ice cream from the Soda Fountain next door! 

— Via Poolos, Managing Scene Editor

Hi-Pointe Theatre

Transit: About a five minute ride on the 16 bus if you leave from the East End

The best independent movie theater in the city! They play a good mix of popular and artsy films in a lovely historic space. The couple who owns it is super nice. They’ve got all the classic movie theater snacks (I’m a diehard peanut M&Ms fan), or the Hi-Pointe Drive-In is next door if you’re after something heftier, like a burger and shake. Plus, you can look at the best historical monument in the city: the massive Amoco sign!

— Holden Hindes, Senior Photo Editor

IKEA

Transit: About a 10 minute ride on either MetroLink line if you leave from University City-Big Bend

What is not to love about the iconic Swedish wonderland? While so many families pigeonhole Ikea as the place to get affordable furniture, it’s also a fantastic place to hang out with friends or grab a bite to eat. 

— Ved Patel, Managing Chief of Copy

The Walmart in Maplewood Commons

Transit: 24 minute bus ride (from Mallinckrodt) on MetroBus 2; four minute walk

Given the fact that the MetroBus deposits you right outside it, hopefully you are not Ubering to the Walmart in Maplewood. Or the Target in Brentwood. Hell, even take the South Campus shuttle to Schnucks. Wherever you go, I dearly hope that you’re not doing your weekly grocery shopping at the CVS on Delmar (as I attempted to, in my freshman year).

— Jamila Dawkins, Managing Forum Editor

 

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening as Washington University returns to campus.

Subscribe