The Universal Transit Pass or U-Pass, offered by the TTC, promised full-time students in post-secondary institutions unlimited travel on regular services aboard the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) or York Region Transit (YRT).
Seventy-three per cent of students at the University of Toronto at Scarborough voted against the U-Pass, and they were right in doing so.
Proposed at a cost of $60 per month or $240 per semester, all students were supposed to pay for the U-Pass, whether they travelled by public transit or not, and there were no talks of it being refundable.
The U-Pass was not entirely a bad idea, as some students would undoubtedly benefit from it. Ten TTC adult tickets cost $22.50. That would be the cost for a student to travel to school and back home for one school week. Multiply that by four and the cost is about $90 per month. Unlimited travel at $60 saves students a significant amount of money, but for whom is it a good thing?
What would have happened to students who drive or live close to school? Why should they have been forced to pay for a service they don’t use? Along with rising tuition fees, some students who drive have to worry about insurance, gas and car maintenance. If you had added transit payments it would have been difficult to work out how that in any way would have benefitted them.
Students who drive were not the only ones against the U-Pass. Some students at Centennial College’s HP Science and Technology Centre and the University of Toronto Scarborough chose to attend those campuses because of close proximity to their homes. Then there are others who live on campus. The point is that not all students travel on public transit or travel on it often enough to benefit from a U-Pass.
Now that students have voted against it, the idea should not disappear altogether. Bring it back, but don’t force it on everybody.