On March 10, Kwantlen Student Association director of operations Reena Bali and staffer Ben Newsom delivered a sweet treat to the Metrotown offices of TransLink.
“I am bringing this chocolate pass on behalf of the student association to present to [TransLink CEO] Ian Jarvis because it’s a sweet deal,” Bali, a third-year human-resources student, told the Straight. “It’s a sweet deal because it not only benefits students, it also benefits the local transportation authorities, educational institutions, as well as the municipalities.”
The KSA wants the U-Pass program expanded to its school and is pushing a student transportation expansion program that would see the provincial government subsidize U-Pass programs to the tune of $10 per student per month. The group has already dropped off a chocolate U-Pass for Premier Gordon Campbell and another for Transportation Minister Shirley Bond at their respective offices.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s student population of 18,000 and its location—at campuses in Langley, Surrey, and Richmond—would determine how much each student would pay under the KSA’s proposed plan, according to Newsom. Based on his experience negotiating for a U-Pass at Capilano University, Newsom said he thinks Kwantlen students would pay between $25 and $45 a month.
“That’s a significant discount for the students,” Newsom said.
A rival proposal from student unions at Douglas College, Emily Carr University, UBC, and Vancouver Community College calls for a “One Pass” rate of $25 across Metro Vancouver.
In their 2009 election platform, the B.C. Liberals promised to bring the U-Pass to all students in the province this September, though no funding was committed in the recent budget.