Two steps to Universal Pass

There are two simple steps necessary for Translink to implement a universal pass. Implementing these steps should be the first order of business of the newly-selected Mayor’s Council in 2009.

Translink must:

• open the doors to all students by ending 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 pass but Translink can’t get neighbourhood approval to add extra buses, so the program is stalled at least until January 2009.)

By contrast, 58,000 post-secondary students outside the system must use Fast Trax at $75 a month, a program that allows students with ID to use a one-zone pass system-wide at a cost of $2 a month over the regular $73 charge.

Students at many of these colleges have declared their willingness to participate and pay a fair monthly fare, but Translink has turned them down. As a result, they are collectively forced to pay millions of dollars a year more than their peers for the same service.