As of last Saturday, June 30th, the one-year pilot program to provide Cal State San Bernardino students with universal transit passes has expired. Apparently, no permanent program was organized to replace it. This sucks, because universal transit passes are an extremely effective tool to promote transit ridership.
First off, they eliminate one of the several impediments to new riders trying transit: understanding fare policy. Fare policy can be complicated, as this old post I wrote about transfers demonstrates. Beyond that, there are local/express distinctions within the RTA system. Some other transit agencies further confuse the issue with zone fare systems, peak/off-peak distinctions, distance fares, bike rack permits, the list goes on. And don't get me started on the miserable failure that was the fare policy on the old 149 (now 216). "Just swipe/flash your card and go" gets rid of all that, and the corresponding anxiety for first-time riders.
Second, they offer all the benefits that a transit pass usually offers, combined with the fact that it's on a card that most college students carry anyway. It's easy for me to go out to lunch with colleagues on the bus, even if they're not usually bus riders, because they've all got UCR ID cards in their wallets.
Last, and this is especially true for college passes, is that universal transit passes develop habits in young adults that may stick with them for life. My generation is one that was raised overwhelmingly in the suburbs. Many friends, colleagues, and students have never ridden a public bus in their lives until their arrival at college. (This is especially true at UCR.) Introducing students to public transit just might get them hooked, and they're more likely to try it if you make it free.
So, Cal State folks, I wish you the best in getting a universal transit pass restored to your campus.