BCIT Student Association councillors voted on November 15 to hold a referendum early next year to determine whether students at the British Columbia Institute of Technology will come onboard the U-Pass program.
If the U-Pass is approved in the balloting, tentatively set for January 7 to 17, 2011, BCIT students could have universal transit passes starting in the summer term, according to association president Jordan Harris.
“There is always going to be huge supporters of it,” Harris told the Straight by phone. “There’s also people who don’t want it. Everyone pays into the program and gets benefits from it. Not everyone is going to use those benefits as much as others.”
In June, the provincial government announced the expansion of the U-Pass program, which provides students access to transit services in exchange for a levy. In the Lower Mainland, the program covers four public institutions so far: UBC, SFU, Langara College, and Capilano University.
Schools such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University have encountered problems in negotiating U-Pass contracts with TransLink, causing delays in the holding of student referendums. But institutions like Emily Carr University, whose students voted in October to adopt the U-Pass, have forged ahead. Emily Carr students will get their U-Pass cards next year.
Tiffany Kalanj, spokesperson for the OnePassNow coalition, told the Straight that Vancouver Community College students will vote between November 29 and December 1 on the U-Pass. She added that a referendum at Douglas College is set to be held November 30 to December 2.
“The way it works is that the student unions have to feel confident”¦that they can take a vote to their membership, and that has certainly happened for Emily Carr, VCC, and Douglas,” Kalanj explained when asked about certain schools getting left behind in the U-Pass expansion process.