Meggs challenges Metro municipal candidates to support Universal Pass


August 21, 2008

Vancouver council hopeful urges transit riders, civic candidates
to support Universal Pass to end student transit fare discrimination

With a new school year only two weeks away and civic elections looming, it’s time for post-secondary students and municipal candidates to speak up against the gross discrimination in the current U-Pass system, says Geoff Meggs, who is seeking a Vision Vancouver council nomination.

“Under the existing U-Pass system, a Vancouver college student will pay three times as much as a UBC or SFU student for the same transit access,” Meggs says. “That will add up to $400 over an eight-month term, a huge sum for students struggling pay tuition and rent.”

Meggs has created Universal Pass Now: Make Fares Fair, a Facebook site for students, bus riders and candidates for local office to register their support for a universal pass for all Metro Vancouver post-secondary students.

“This is an issue for all candidates in the 21 municipalities covered by Translink,” Meggs said. “In November, we need to elect mayors to the Translink Mayors’ Council who are committed to fairness on fares for all students.

“Translink must open the doors to all students, end the ‘revenue-neutral’ policy that keeps 58,000 students in second-class status, and push Victoria to add the funds necessary to create a universal pass without punishing existing U-Pass holders.”

Under the current U-Pass system, which is restricted to about 80,000 UBC, SFU and Langara College students who have approved the program in referenda, U-Pass holders get system-wide access for between $23.75 a month at UBC and $38 a month at Langara. (Capilano students have approved a $31 pass but Translink has not yet extended the service.)

By contrast, 65,000 post-secondary students outside the system must use Fast Trax at $73 a month, a program that allows students with ID to use a one-zone $73 monthly pass system-wide at an additional cost of $2.75 a year.