News, entertainment and sports from Langara College journalism students

U-Pass prices may be on the rise

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Langara students may be hit with an increase in the price of their U-Pass, but at least they’ll be able to vote on it in a referendum expected this spring.

The U-Pass, a joint program between the Langara Students’ Union, TransLink and the province, provides reduced transit rates for full-time college students.

TransLink tight-lipped

Gurbax Leelh, LSU media liaison, said TransLink will not let the LSU release any information.

“The only information I can provide at this point is that the price is being negotiated and we are trying to get our members the best price for their U-Pass,” Leelh said in a written statement.

This comment was echoed by representatives of students’ unions at BCIT, SFU and Capilano University, schools that are also part of the U-Pass program. Each representative referred The Voice to TransLink.

Vincent Gonsalves, TransLink spokesman, says that all the partners are working together on a new program, which he believes they are close to finalizing.

“In developing the renewed program, the objectives of the existing U-Pass BC program are still being considered, including the provision of lower-cost travel for students through a discounted transit pass.… Once the terms and conditions have been finalized, they will be put forward for consideration by student societies for student referendums to be held early in the new year,” said Gonsalves.

Students unhappy with price raise

Langara student Barkha Dhangu with her November U-Pass.

Many students on campus were not happy about an increase.

Standing in the rain while waiting for his bus, general studies student Ervin Ganal became animated about the potential fee increase.

“Not a good idea. Everyone is already not happy about tuition fees going up. So, in addition, to have the U-Pass up, not a good idea,” said Ganal.

Health science student Barkha Dhangu was equally opposed to any increase.

“It is my only way of transportation. That sucks. We already pay so much [for tuition and fees],” said Dhangu.

For other students the increase would impact their parents.

“My mom is a single mom, so it is hard.  She pays for my pass,” said Garlen Powar.

The current U-Pass program was originally approved by a student referendum in March 2011.  At the time, students voted 97 per cent in favour.

Reported by Jennifer Thuncher

Here is a video courtesy of the Langara Students’ Union about the current U-Pass program.

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