Back in June, the BC government announced, with great bravado, that a province-wide transit pass would be available to all post-secondary students for $40 a month. Politicians get to look sustainable, students save a buck. A slam-dunk, right?
The deal is contingent on a) Students voting in favour of the pass via referendum, and b) Student unions signing off on the contract between them and the government. A contract which, as of now, will require all students to pay for the pass, whether they use it or not. And in the case of Kwantlen University, both issues are at play right now, which has caused them to miss a deadline for having the transit pass implemented by January.
Causing tension is the fact that transit to and around Kwantlen’s mutiple campuses in the Fraser Valley can be quite scattershot, to put it mildly. In September, students raced on bike and foot to beat buses that went between the school’s Surrey and Langley campuses—and the buses lost.
Naturally, students wonder if paying $40 a month for a system they may not be inclined to use is actually worthwhile, and there’s a push to allow Kwantlen students to be able to opt out of the plan if they want. However, the government wants one contract for all post-secondary institutions, which is causing some friction, according to the Georgia Straight.
No doubt this will eventually get resolved—but it will be interesting to see if the provincial government budges on this, or whether intra-student union solidarity will break first.