Lack of U-Pass leaves Langara students without affordable transportation

Some students find that they miss the once mandatory transit pass

Transit users queue and enter bus at the Kelowna UBC campus.
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By Henri B. Ngimbis

Many Langara online students have expressed frustration because most college students in Vancouver are not being given a U-Pass this semester and are therefore paying full transit prices. Most students at universities, meanwhile, have continued to qualify for the affordable U-Pass.

Universities such as UBC and SFU continue to offer their students with the inexpensive U-Pass that costs $42.50 per month.

Students with in-class courses at Langara are granted the discount pass. Those taking their classes online are not.

The loss of the U-Pass has meant many students are now paying transit costs from $98 for a monthly adult one-zone pass to $177, depending on the number of zones they travel.

Students still have a need for affordable transit

“How is it possible that students of other institutions still enjoy their U-Pass and we do not?” said Robbie Lewis, a Langara first-year general arts student who complained the Langara Students’ Union was failing to provide students support.

Students have argued that they still need to travel to school for labs and to access the library.

“Some students survive with part-time jobs; the U-Pass is very important for them,” said Lewis, who still travels to the college to use the library. 

According to a Statistics Canada report published in May 2020, 75 per cent of post secondary students across the country were online students; 6 per cent were working on a thesis, while only 2 per cent had none of their courses online. 

Dan Mountain, spokesperson at TransLink, explained in an email that “it is up to individual schools to decide eligibility.”

He said students with questions about refunds due to changes in their eligibility status should contact their school or student association.

In response to a media inquiry, the Langara Students’ Union stated that “Students taking only online classes will not be assessed U-Pass fees, and due to COVID-19 regulations, a majority of Langara College’s registered students are attending classes online.”

The email went on to say that “Students identified as being enrolled in on-campus instruction continue to be eligible to the U-Pass as well as those who are enrolled in practicum and co-op courses.”

 

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