Opinion: U-Pass program should make a comeback

The Lack of a U-Pass program at Langara adds extra stress, and extra cost

Students and pedestrians wait for the number 49 bus on the corner of Cambie and 49th Avenue in Vancouver, BC on Oct. 21, 2020. (Norman Galimski/Photo)
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By Norman Galimski

Students in most Lower Mainland universities now have had their U-Pass returned in September. However, few college students are now eligible for the U-Pass, including those from Langara College.

We all should.

Many universities across the Lower Mainland reinstated the U-Pass program after suspending it during the summer months when post-secondary institutions were first offering full-time online courses due to the pandemic.

Students at UBC, SFU and BCIT all qualify for the U-Pass this term regardless of whether they were enrolled in-class or online — as long as they live in the Lower Mainland.

Many Langara students were caught by surprise upon learning they were not getting a U-Pass when students at many of the other institutions still qualify for it — regardless of the delivery method of their classes.

Students still have to commute to work, buy groceries, run errands, and there are still many students who choose to travel to the Langara campus to access productive study spaces and labs.

Langara students are now paying for this extra cost out of their own pockets.

Transit fares add up quickly. One 90 minute trip costs $3.00, and that’s only a one-zone adult fare. If you are not so lucky, you may be paying up to $5.75 for a three-zone one-way trip.

In the new era of the pandemic, the cost of public transit should not be among the top of students’ worries alongside work, exams, papers, meal prep and the very real possibility of catching the deadly COVID-19 virus.

The peace-of-mind and savings that the U-Pass provides by not having to worry about the expense of everyday travel, especially for us students, should be reason enough for universal eligibility for all Langara students regardless of their program delivery.

 

 

 

 

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