Battle for one U-Pass heating up

Gordon Campbell’s campaign promises are toppling like nine-pins, but the Premier has so far not stepped back from his election pledge to implement a U-Pass program for all BC post-secondary students.

The NDP says the flip-flop is imminent, but Lower Mainland college and university students are determined to hold Campbell’s feet to the fire with a OnePassNow campaign that calls on the Premier to deliver a single pass.

As this site has demonstrated in exhaustive detail, the current Translink “revenue neutral” model has reached its limit: there are no major groups of students left whose mandatory monthly bus pass purchases would produce enough revenue to balance out the cost of useful service increases. The paradoxical result is that student bodies that have high transit usage already — like VCC and Emily Carr — would face much higher costs for a card than large groups like SFU and UBC, that have both numbers and a high share of drivers.

The Premier got it right in May — a universal pass must be implemented by decision of senior government. That will take some cash and also produce service challenges for Translink and BC Transit. And that brings the government up against the Translink 10-year plan proposal, which is a separate Force 5 hurricane in its own right. (More on that later.)

Premier Campbell says he will deliver on all-day kindergarten, despite cuts everywhere else. Will he deliver the Pass? Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, the OnePassNow campaign is doing a good job of reminding students that they’re pissed about U-Pass.