The U-Pass program will now cost students $20 more per year and will be extended three more years.
The provincial government is committing $34.5 million to TransLink to offset costs for providing students with highly discounted transit passes
Currently 140,000 post-secondary students are provided with U-passes.
Price change in effect soon
Prices will start at $35 in May 2013 under the new agreement. Students voted to increase the price to $36.75 in 2014 and to $38 in 2015. Students will still save between $56 and $135 every month over those three years.
“U-Pass B.C. provides tremendous value for our students,” said TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis in a press release Saturday. “We are encouraging students to adopt transit as an effective choice subsequent to graduation.”
“We are proud to see the continuation of a program as beneficial to students as U-Pass B.C. has proved to be,” said Arzo Ansary, Kwantlen Student Association external affairs coordinator. “The continuation of affordable and accessible transit services ensures increased ridership, which is a goal we as student leaders strive for.”
Veronica Guzman, a first-year Langara student enjoys the U-Pass program and chose Langara partly because it was one of the schools that offered it. “I am willing to pay the increased price honestly, because I would be paying a lot more otherwise,” said Guzman.
Some students aren’t benefiting but pay anyway
Despite the fact that the U-Pass program will continue to save students money, some believe that the problem isn’t the cost. “I hate that it’s forced as part of our tuition,” said Guzman. “My boyfriend has a car. Why does he have to pay? He should be able to opt out.”
Stephanie Chu, a Langara student attending her second semester, doesn’t use her U-Pass and wishes she didn’t have to pay for it. “I live really close so I don’t use the pass all that much. I wish they’d give me a choice. The price increase is really not beneficial to me.”
Since 2010, the U-Pass program has expanded to ten post-secondary schools in B.C. Despite the increases, the program hopes to still expand further and provide B.C. with affordable, universal transit for all students.
Reported by Garin Fahlman