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Students voted ‘Yes’ to a possible price increase of the U-Pass BC program

The program will continue beyond next year's expiry date.

Students arriving to Langara College on the Route 49 bus, one of the busiest bus routes for students. Photo by Agazy Mengesha.
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Reported by Agazy Mengesha

Langara students voted last week in favour of continuing the U-Pass BC program beyond the current Dec. 31, 2019 program expiry date. Automatically attached to the vote, was a potential five per cent future fee increase, something other post-secondary institutions omitted from their TransLink agreement referendums.

SFU and BCIT also renewed their respective U-Pass agreements without making students vote on a possible fee increase for 2020.

Why the increase?

Though TransLink has not indicated it would increase fees when the current agreement expires at the end of 2019, the Langara Student Union website states the transit company raises the U-Pass fee by about five per cent every year.

This is why the LSU chose to have students vote on the potential increase instead of holding another referendum down the road. Should TransLink increase the cost of the U-Pass in 2020, other institutions will need to hold another referendum to approve the hike.

“In the future, the LSU along with many other schools will be able to negotiate a price increase without having to go for referendum as long as it is a maximum of up to 5% increase,” the LSU said in a written statement.

Student not concerned

Rhythm Vashisd, a ‘Yes’ voter, said he wasn’t concerned about the increase.

“Better a five per cent increase then a 100 per cent,” said Vashisd, who was also unconcerned that SFU and BCIT had chosen to delay its referendum on a possible price increase.

While BCIT did not attached the price hike to the U-Pass renewal vote, BCIT Student Association vice president Timothy David said he understood and approved of the LSU’s decision.

“Referendums do take a lot of time, take a lot of resources,” he said. “It’s difficult to get student engagement, especially with such a topic, although it’s very well used. A lot of students don’t want to contribute the time to it.”

U-Pass vote results

The vote passed on Feb. 1, with 97 per cent of voters in favour of the renewal and possible hike.

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