Rental market in Vancouver leaving Langara students with long commutes

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Reported by Chandler Walter and Veronnica MacKillop 

Some Langara students believe that the stress of renting in Vancouver outweighs that of commuting, but others would rather rent than take transit from outside of the city everyday.

Jeff Schwanebeck, a third year general science student at Langara, lives with his parents in Port Coquitlam and commutes for about an hour and 45 minutes each way. “It allows me to focus on my studies instead of worrying about a job,” Schwanebeck said.

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Some students have to commute by transit for nearly two hours to get to Langara, photo: Chandler Walter

He considered getting a car, but decided it was not worth the cost. “Insurance would be about $150 a month, gas — you’re probably looking at $60 every week, then there’s the cost of maintenance,” Schwanebeck said.

He saves about $1,000 every month by not paying rent, as well as the cost of groceries and daily living. The commute can make for long days, according to Schwanebeck. “I’m usually home by 7:30–8 p.m., unless it’s a Wednesday, I don’t get home till 12 a.m.,” he said.

Schwanebeck said that although the long commute saves him money, it does affect his grades. “If I lived closer, even just Burnaby, my grades would be a lot better. You can’t do work on transit, I’ve tried.”

Schwanebeck would still rather have a long commute than try to rent in the city. “The amount that I save is worth the stress,” he said.

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Jeff Schwanebeck comes from Port Coquitlam every day to get to school, photo via facebook
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Schwanebeck’s hour and 45 minute commute from Port Coquitlam to Langara

 

Schwanebeck discussing his route to and from school, and why he chooses to commute

Second year political science student, Kyle Oxborough, finds that living in Vancouver and paying rent is less stressful than having to commute from outside of the city. Coming from the West End, Oxborough’s commute is still about 40 minutes each way.

Oxborough is a full time student, and he works 30 hours per week to pay rent, which takes a toll on school work. “I have to work more hours outside of school to pay rent, so I think that definitely affects my grades,” he said.

Oxborough estimates that he spends about $1,200–$1,500 month on paying rent, bills, groceries, and added expenses. The cost is worth it, he said. “Any stress from having to work more and pay rent is offset by having very easy access to get to school.”

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Kyle Oxborough chooses to pay high rent in Vancouver to be closer to school, photo: Chandler Walter
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Oxborough’s commute from the West End to Langara takes about 40 minutes

 

Oxborough explains why renting in Vancouver is a better option for him

Alexander Joe, a second year associate of arts degree student, lives with his parents rent-free in Burnaby. He has a car, but doesn’t drive everyday, as the cost is too high.

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Some Langara students choose to pay for parking on campus, rather than take transit, photo: Chandler Walter

“I only drive twice a week because I’m here for seven hours and I just pay for all day parking, and every other day I just transit,” he said.

Joe considers the cost to be worth the amount of time that he saves on the days when he chooses to drive.

Parking is $7 for a whole day and it’s only $3.50 for four hours,” Joe explained. “Insurance is roughly $350 a month. For gas, it’s roughly $40 for like, two to three weeks,” he said.

Transit takes around an hour and 20 minutes for Joe, and driving is about 40 minutes each way.

Joe said he is able to use some of his transit time for studying. “I’ll just sit on the bus and read my notes or open my textbook and read,” he said.
Joe still thinks that his travel time and costs are worth not having to pay a high rent. “Vancouver is great. I’ve lived here for all my life and would love to live here, but it depends on how [far I get] in my job and career path,” he said.  

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Alexander Joe commutes from his parent’s home in Burnaby, rather than renting in Vancouver, photo: Chandler Walter
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Joe’s commute to school when he drives takes about 20 minutes without traffic
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Joe’s commute to school when he takes transit takes him close to an hour, sometimes more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe talks about why he doesn’t rent in Vancouver

Students can only hope that the rental market in Vancouver will cool down enough to allow for affordable rentals near the school. Until then, some may just have to get comfortable on those hour long bus rides.

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