Students forced to shell out lunch money for transit fare

As the spring semester at Capilano commences, many students have found themselves without a U-Pass, despite having been charged for it alongside their Spring 2010 tuition. The Capilano CapCard Centre informs students to wait the full first school week, until Friday, January 8,  to see if their U-Pass is mailed to them. Meanwhile, no alternative method of paying for transit fare has been issued, and students are left in the dark and having to additionally pay out of pocket, as the previous semester’s U-Pass expired at the year’s end.

Reza Naghibi, a second-year Creative Writing student, received his U-Pass two days after his classes had begun. He also had problems getting his U-Pass during the previous term, when he changed his address. The U-Pass was mailed back to the CapCard Centre, and they did not contact him about his pass being kept on file. Amelie Segur, a first-year psychology student, also received her pass three days late, and had to pay out of pocket to get to school. She also registered and paid for her courses days before the deadline.

Some bus drivers have been understanding and lenient in allowing students on the bus without paying. Amelie brought bus fare change just in case, and there were some drivers who would let her on without paying when she explained her situation.

Jane Callow, supervisor at the CapCard Centre, reveals exactly what went wrong this term.

Firstly, unrelated to the school’s control of the situation, Canada Post had delays in mailing the U-Pass because of the seasonal crunch – the holiday period is extremely busy for couriers.

Secondly, Capilano does not mail out U-Passes – Translink has outsourced the printing and distribution to a company in Edmonton called DATA Group. They claimed that the passes were mailed out December 29.

However, Capilano was not entirely faultless in the fiasco. The reason why the U-Passes were printed and mailed out at the very last minute, less than a week before classes started, was due to payment deadlines set by Capilano. The deadline for tuition payment was December 21, as set by the Financial Services department, meaning DATA Group got the list of students and their photographs late as well.

Callow says that the issue is going to be resolved as soon as possible to avoid recurrence, by making the deadline for tuition payments earlier. Should students have problems, Callow advises that "it is the responsibility of the Capilano Students' Union to represent their interests," adding students should voice their concerns to the CSU.

The U-Pass costs students 128 dollars a term and was initiated by a partnership between the Capilano Students' Union, Translink, and Capilano University. The CapCard Centre has stated on their website that students should have expected their U-Pass in their mail last Friday, one school week after classes have already commenced. If they have not received their U-Pass, they can pick it up starting Monday, January 11, 2009 at no charge. No information is given on how students are expected to make their way to school without a U-Pass.

//Keith Van


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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com