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

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

Just Posted

The Maple Ridge Community Foundation is hosting a trivia night fundraiser on Hit TV. (Special to The News)
Connie Werzun has taken up photography classes, and tok this picture along the dikes at Jerry Sulina Park one night recently. Using a seven-minute exposure, “a photo taken at night looks like it was taken during the day.” (Special to The News)
SHARE: Night photo of mountain range appears as day

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Raphael Baruh of Slavic Rolls creates one of his Eastern European desserts at the Maple Ridge food truck festival on Saturday afternoon. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Food Truck Festival in Maple Ridge this weekend

Pick the drive-through lane for the food you like at Albion Fair Grounds

Coyotes walk down a Maple Ridge residential street. (Special to The News)
Security camera shows coyotes walking down Maple Ridge street

A warning to Silver Valley residents to keep their pets indoors, says home owner

Coach Ray Wakeman and the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club are looking for new members. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Maple Ridge club looking for lawn bowlers

Games have been modified for safety during COVID-19

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
1 taken to hospital after plane crash at Metro Vancouver airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Most Read