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.