U-Pass deal means transit price hikes for students

Provincial aid never covered TransLink susbsidy for extra bus service: Corrigan

Student associations are using graphics like this to encourage students to approve a small increase in U-Pass fees

Post-secondary students across Metro Vancouver will vote early next year in referenda to increase transit U-Pass rates and renew the compulsory pass program for three years.

If approved, the monthly cost of the universal transit passes for students will rise from $30 to $35 next May and climb to $38 by the summer of 2016.

An extra $10 is charged for Kwantlen Polytechnic University students in Richmond, Surrey and Langley to cover an inter-campus shuttle as well as other benefits.

Student associations at UBC, SFU and other institutions are now urging students to approve the change, arguing U-Pass is still a good deal despite the price hike.

“The alternative is to purchase a much more expensive regular adult pass and those fares have increased as well,” said Arzo Ansary, a Kwantlen Student Association spokesperson.

She noted regular adult monthly transit passes will cost $91 for one zone as of Jan. 1 ($124 for two zones; $170 for three zones.)

“I think we have a pretty high chance of our referendum passing successfully.”

U-Passes are mandatory and the cost is built into fees students pay – even those who drive to classes and don’t take transit can’t opt out to save money.

A majority vote will rule whether each institution stays in the U-Pass system or drops out.

U-Passes were extended beyond UBC and SFU a few years ago when the provincial government mandated a province-wide U-Pass system extending to other institutions.

Under the renewal agreement, the provincial government will continue to provide TransLink aid for bus service to help meet the demand from U-Pass holders.

But Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said the money from the province has never been enough for TransLink to break even on its U-Pass obligations.

“Other transit users and property owners subsidize the provincial government’s announcements that they’re providing cheaper transit rates for students,” he said.

U-Pass fans say the system has fostered a new generation of transit users, reducing road traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

But because not all students use their U-Passes, many end up on the black market and Transit Police spokesperson Anne Drennan said officers continue to battle fraudulent sales and unauthorized use.

“It’s an ongoing battle,” she said. “As they’re taken off a [free classifieds] site, more pop up.”

Charges are expected soon against a repeat offender, she said.

TransLink switched to issuing U-Passes monthly, instead of for a whole term, to help curb reselling, but Drennan said that hasn’t had a huge effect.

Starting later in 2013, U-Passes will be built into TransLink’s new Compass smart card system.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

TIME IS RUNNING OUT: Readers invited to share wildlife photographs

Aim, snap, shoot, and share your pictures of wildlife in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to win!

LETTER: All Washington plate owners can’t be Canadian residents

A Maple Ridge man questions presence of U.S. vehicles in the Canada, despite closed borders

Residential real estate market rebounding well: long-time realtor

House prices, sales, and listings in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are moving on an upward trajectory

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are prepared for high Fraser River levels

Peak numbers are expected to be below trigger levels for both cities

‘Protect our jobs,” say laid-off hotel workers to MLA Lisa Beare

Delegation delivered a petition to Maple Ridge MLA office on Friday

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Most Read