More post-secondary students in Metro Vancouver and across B.C. are being offered access to a universal transit pass program already in place at a dozen colleges and universities.
Premier Gordon Campbell announced today (June 9) that the remaining 15 publicly funded institutions in the province that are not already part of a U-Pass program will be able to sign on.
In Metro Vancouver, that gives students the chance to pay $30 a month for system-wide access starting this fall, down from the $81 it would otherwise cost. But students at each school would first have to vote to join the program.
According to the province, the monthly U-Pass rates at Simon Fraser University ($26) and the University of B.C. ($24) will stay the same until at least September 2011. As well, the monthly rates at Langara College ($38) and Capilano University ($32) will both be lowered to $30 in September.
Campbell said the program would make transit use more affordable for 430,000 post-secondary students in the province.
“I think it’s a significant value for institutions around the Lower Mainland and around the province,” Campbell told a crowd gathered for the announcement today at Vancouver Community College, one of the schools that does not yet offer a U-Pass.
The plan also has support from student advocates who have been calling for an expanded program.
Nimmi Takkar, B.C. chair of the Canadian Federation of Students, said the provincewide plan is unique in Canada.
“A whole new generation of students are about to experience a college and university system where access to affordable transit and supporting sustainability is a part of their daily lives,” Takkar said.
Transportation Minister Shirley Bond described the arrangement as a “student-led initiative”.
The province has committed $20 million over the next three years toward providing the U-Pass in Metro Vancouver, and “funding as required” to keep the monthly cost below $30 elsewhere in the province.