All B.C. students to get U-Pass - Macleans.ca
 

All B.C. students to get U-Pass

Monthly bus fare lowered to $30 for all post-secondary students


 

Every transit-going student at a publicly funded institution in B.C. will be privy to a universal U-Pass come September 1. The provincial government will be investing $20 million over three years to implement the program, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today. The change comes after years of frustration from smaller Vancouver colleges and universities who were unable to negotiate a U-Pass deal with transit authorities at the same rate as larger institutions like the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.

Students at participating schools will have access to a U-Pass for $30 per month, or approximately $50 less than a regular bus pass. Students at UBC and SFU who currently pay less than that amount will see their rates unchanged until 2011, at which point the rates will rise. At schools, such as Langara College and Capilano University, where the rates are above $30, the cost will drop in September. In other regions of the province the rates could be less than in metro Vancouver.

“This fulfils our commitment to establish a universal U-Pass program for all students studying at B.C. colleges and universities,” the premier said. “Students will enjoy the benefits of discounted transit passes to help with the costs of getting to and from school.”

The Canadian Federation of Students hailed the policy.  “The Province and TransLink are to be congratulated for implementing a common U-Pass program for Metro Vancouver at an attractive price,” CFS-B.C chairperson Nimmi Takkar said. “Affordable transit will be of tremendous benefit to post-secondary students in British Columbia and the communities where they live.”

Participation in the plan will be subject to approval via student referenda.


 

All B.C. students to get U-Pass

  1. “The Canadian Federation of Students hailed the policy.” Um, hailed as what? Is there an editor in the house?

  2. Let’s just clarify one fact here: students do not “have access” to the pass. Students are FORCED to pay for the pass whether they ever ride the bus or not. Live in an area that receives crappy service from Translink (ie: most places)? Too bad! You too will pay $90 a term for a bus pass that is completely useless to you.

    I think it’s time Universities put limits on the kind of charges students can impose on one another through referendums. The majority of students ride buses, so this is great for them. But it’s not like other students can afford to flush $100 down the toilet.

    If the transit system, which we *already* pay for with our tax dollars, concedes that transit passes are too expensive for students, then let it lower the prices *without* forcing everyone to buy a pass.

    If the Canadian Federation of Students was even remotely competent, this is the position they would take too.

  3. I would also like to point out re what was just said – yes – Translink may not be the transport of choice for everyone; however, there is an easily accessible option of opting out of the UPASS, and anyone with a valid reason can opt for exemption of the Upass.

  4. UBC doesn’t make it that easy to opt out of their UPass. I’ve only known one person to successfully do it, and he was able to because he already held a cheap bus pass because one of his parents was a Translink executive. Trying to tell them that you won’t use your UPass because you get a ride to school every day, live on campus or drive isn’t going to fly.

    That being said, I’m a huge advocate of public transit and love my UPass. But I agree that if you’re a student who lives in a poorly serviced area (i.e. the ‘burbs), the UPass is a waste of your money and you’re better off driving.

    It’s a nice incentive to get students to use public transit, but suburban services need to be improved first before you can expect students in those areas to actually go for this.

  5. Is there a list of these “participating” schools??

  6. There is no option to opt out of U-pass at all at most schools. Trust me. I’ve been to several of them. At UBC you can do it if you are disabled or live outside the GVRD. However, this does not address the situation most people are in: living inside the GVRD but living a half hour walk from the nearest bus stop…or living on a bus route that requires a good 2 hours of transit time for a trip that takes 40 minutes by car.

  7. Fraser is spelled with an “s” not an “z.”

  8. @Peter who wrote: “The Canadian Federation of Students hailed the policy.” Um, hailed as what? Is there an editor in the house?

    For those who have a Canadian Oxford Dictionary in their house, they will know that “hailed” means to “acclaim, commend or endorse vigorously.” The word “hailed” is often followed by an “as” but there is nothing in the rules of the English language that dictate that it must.

  9. If the BC gov’t really wanted to make it universal – they’d also make it so that the passes are valid not only in your region where you normally go to school, but throughout B.C.

    Consider for example a UBC student who lives in Victoria for example – each time they go home during the term, or over Christmas or Spring Break they’d have to pay regular fare to use the Victoria system.