GBC students may have to wait until September 2019 for $70 a month transit pass
The TTC board approved the framework for a U-Pass, which will allow students at participating post-secondary schools unlimited travel on the TTC.
The U-Pass could become a mandatory part of full-time students fees, added on a per-semester basis for all three semesters. That would means $280 is added to students’ tuition fee for each semester, for a U-Pass costing $70 per month.
“A $70 TTC pass for all students is an amazing benefit,” said Faris Lehn, operations manager for the Student Association of George Brown College (SA), at an SA board meeting on Monday.
In order for the U-Pass to be implemented at GBC, there will need to be a student referendum according to the ancillary fees agreement between the SA and the college.
Lehn said that a referendum at GBC isn’t likely to happen until September, and if passed, students might not be able to get the U-Pass until September 2019.
According to Lehn, this is because the college often plans student fees a year in advance.
Anne Boucher, who is running to be University of Toronto Students’ Union president, said that that $70 is a pretty good price for students, taking into account the fact that with the U-Pass, the TTC will remain cost and revenue-neutral.
TTC board member Joe Mihevc said on Twitter that the U-Pass was an idea that’s time has come.
The @TTC is happy to support a University Pass for $70; it is an affordable passport to TO, an idea whose time has come
— Joe Mihevc (@joemihevc) March 20, 2018
“The U-Pass doesn’t mean to bring you just the value on campus,” said Boucher. “The U-Pass gives you the ability to use all TTC services. The difference for them is that they may not use it to get to campus but they can use it for anything else just like every other student.”
The U-Pass will require the participation of all full-time students from at least one of the following post-secondary institutions: GBC, University of Toronto (St. George), Ryerson and OCAD.
Students wouldn’t be able to opt out unless their “personal circumstances or needs” are “related to a protected ground under the Ontario Human Rights Code restrict their ability to utilize transit.”
A request for opting out will be assessed by the post-secondary institutions on a case-by-case basis.
Riddhi Modi, SA director of communications and internal, declined to comment on the U-Pass saying she didn’t have enough information.
She referred questions to Tiffany White, the SA’s director of education, who has campaigned for the U-Pass this year. White was not at the SA board meeting on Monday and was unavailable for comment.